Rounds with Leadership

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

September 26, 2018 - Strength in the Collective Voice: The Nursing Community Coalition Celebrates 10 Years

On September 12, 2018, the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC), of which AACN is the convening organization, hosted a three-part celebration to honor its 10 years of collective advocacy. An informal operation prior to 2008, the coalition began to formalize due to the efforts of then Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) office and the nurses who were Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows to expand nursing’s voice in the national dialogue on healthcare reform. For the past decade, the NCC has been a beacon for unity within nursing advocacy and now includes 60 national nursing organizations. The NCC has developed a strong bipartisan, bicameral collaboration with the nursing caucuses to achieve the goal of working on important healthcare issues.

The NCC made its mark on Capitol Hill with the 2009 publication of its Commitment to Quality Health Reform: A Consensus Statement from the Nursing Community during the height of healthcare reform discussions. After months of negotiations, deliberations, and drafts, the Consensus Statement was signed by 41 national nursing organizations. The Consensus Statement, along with numerous comments, letters, and meetings on the Hill, played a vital role in the inclusion of key provisions in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, such as the ability of Certified Nurse Midwives to receive full Medicare reimbursement. The NCC proved to lawmakers that professional nursing organizations have a powerful stake in the future our nation’s health and, through the coalition, our collective voice would be heard.

Since then, the NCC has continued to grow, not only in membership, but also in the variety of legislative and policy issues for which the coalition advocates. Last year, the NCC formally established a steering committee comprised of nine NCC members’ government affairs staff who meet weekly to discuss the coalition’s opportunities and strategies. This committee has increased exponentially the coalition’s advocacy efforts, almost tripling the number of letters, comments, and proposals sent from the coalition to lawmakers.

We mark the 10-year anniversary of the NCC with AACN’s membership to reflect on the power of numbers. Over the last six months alone, AACN has looked to the NCC to be a coordinated voice for the profession on some of the most powerful policy debates facing the nation. From protecting the health and wellness of immigrant children separated from their families at the border to repealing limitations on gun violence research, the NCC creates the opportunity to amplify the voice of nursing when the health and wellness of the most vulnerable are in jeopardy.

The work of the NCC is neither random nor biased. It is thoughtful and considered by the on-the-ground experts of our national nursing organizations. The NCC agenda is not driven by one organization. Its members have worked successfully for 10 years to put aside politics and let the issues drive its success. Over the last decade, over 200 letters, documents, comments, and testimonies sent to federal policymakers with this unified voice has yielded increases in funding to the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs and the National Institute of Nursing Research and given forward momentum to ensuring that APRNs are eligible to prescribe lifesaving treatments for those addicted to opioids. 

As the coalition continues to expand, evolve, and advocate on behalf of the profession, AACN remains a committed partner. AACN firmly believes that when it comes to moving the needle forward at the federal level, collaboration wins the day. We all share in the victories when we all work together. As Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.” Learn more about the NCC here.