Nursing’s Public Policy Platform
Ensuring Virginians have access to sufficient numbers of highly qualified nurses while
maintaining nursing’s voice on public policy issues is a top priority. We seek the following
commitments from the Commonwealth on behalf of Virginia’s more than 107,000
registered nurses who, for the 15th consecutive year, were identified by Americans as the
most trustworthy professionals in Gallup's annual "Honesty and Ethics" survey.
1. Enable Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to contribute to the
healthcare solution by practicing to their full scope of education and training.
APRNs (nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse
specialists) have provided safe and effective care in Virginia for more than four decades.
Virginia’s APRNs currently have barriers to practice which include requirements for a
collaborative practice agreement with a physician, inability to admit patients into hospice
or home health and restrictions on prescription of controlled drugs. The current shortage
of primary care physicians and the practice limit restrictions faced by APRN's limits
Virginians access to care. Advanced practice registered nurses should be allowed to
practice to their full scope of education and training.
2. Improve students’ access to school nurses to ensure Virginia’s youth is
healthy, safe, and ready to learn.
School nurses bridge the gap between healthcare providers, families, and school staff by
advocating for the health and wellness of their school communities. Access to a school
nurse improves not only a student’s health outcomes, but also his or her readiness to
learn. In Virginia, there are no minimum staffing levels for school nurses. As a result, wide
variability exists in school nurse staffing across the Commonwealth. As of 2016, Virginia’s
ratio of school nurses to students is 1:923. This stands in contrast to the Virginia Board
of Education’s 2016 Standards of Quality (SOQ) revised recommendations, which
prescribe a ratio of one school nurse to every 550 students. To ensure Virginia students
are healthy, safe, and ready to learn, it is imperative that all students have access to a
school nurse on a daily basis.
3. Support legislative solutions that create and sustain conditions that support
the health and well-being of all Virginians.
Every Virginian deserves the opportunity to live in a state of well-being and have access
to safe and affordable healthcare. To ensure the optimal health of our citizens and
communities, we must ensure that wellness is factored into decisions related to
education, employment, housing, transportation, land use, economic, development, and
public safety. We must work alongside community and government partners to support
legislative solutions that promote a culture of health and tackle the population health
issues highlighted in Virginia's Well-being Plan.