Public opinion surveys from respected groups such as Gallup serve as a barometer on certain topics and issues.
In Gallup’s 2018 poll assessing ethics and honesty, nurses were again ranked the most-trusted profession in the United States for the 20th year. In 2018, 84% of respondents said they rated nurses “very high” for honesty and ethical standards, leading the pack by a wide margin. Patients, families, and caregivers know firsthand that nurses are driving patient-centered care. For that very reason, they rank nurses higher than physicians, clergy, police officers, and educators. It’s a position that commands respect.
Throughout the country, people look to their nurses for honest answers and ethical guidance to difficult medical situations—including elected officials. When nurses speak, they listen. This indelible power gives nursing advocates a level of respect when they visit lawmakers and public officials to share their stories.
One oncology nurse—ONS member Candace Schiffer, NP, AOCNP®—made a unique impact on her representative Peter King (R-NY) at ONS’s Second Annual Capitol Hill Days in September 2018. After hearing nurses’ stories about palliative and end-of-life care experiences, King questioned how oncology nurses could face death and dying like that. To which Schiffer responded, “Oncology isn’t about death and dying, it’s about life and living beyond cancer. That’s why we’re here—to talk about palliative care and survivorship initiatives.”
King was so impressed with the visit he asked to keep Schiffer and her colleagues’ contact information on file to reach out to them whenever new healthcare bills were entered in Congress, creating a direct line to their district’s policymaker.
Speaking truth to power at the local, state, and federal level can help enact change for patients and for the greater nursing profession. Central to ONS’s core values is supporting oncology nursing advocates, providing resources and education to help them connect with lawmakers. Learn more about ONS’s Center for Advocacy and Health Policy and how to get involved today.