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Florida State Coordinator Attends ANA Advocacy Training

Publish Date: October 24, 2011

AORN State Coordinator for the state of Florida, Mary Jane “MJ” Balun, RN CNOR, recently attended the American Nurses Association (ANA) Advocacy Institute in Washington, DC. The ANA Advocacy Institute is designed to equip registered nurses to influence health policy at the local, state, and national levels. Attendees of the program return to their home states to serve as political action and advocacy leaders on nursing issues in their state.

The three-day training held in Washington, DC, includes education sessions, networking opportunities, and visits to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress on important nursing initiatives. 22 attendees from 20 states learned strategies for creating and sustaining policy change, message development skills, how to assess the political environmental within a state, and how to establish an effective advocacy implementation plan centered on networking and coalition building.

Attendees leave the training with a project plan for the next year. Balun hopes to focus her project on eliminating the “fear factor” for nurses in speaking to state representatives and local leaders on advocacy issues important to perioperative nursing. “I am grateful to AORN and the Florida Nurses Association for giving me the opportunity to attend the Advocacy Institute,” said Balun. “Not only did I learn how to be a better advocacy leader in my state, I was fortunate to meet an OR nurse who is currently serving in elected office as a state representative. Representative Erin Murphy from Minnesota was the introductory speaker for the program. It’s inspiring to see the influence of nursing nationwide.”

Balun’s attendance at the Advocacy Institute was sponsored by AORN Government Affairs. AORN will have funding available for two AORN members to attend the institute in 2012. Members seeking to attend the institute must be active and in good standing with their state nurses association and full members of the ANA.