ANNA Member Anne Diroll Reflects on 2014 Nurse In Washington Internship Program

ANNA member Anne Diroll participated in the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program in Washington, DC, March 30 through April 1, 2014. Sponsored by the Nursing Organizations Alliance, the NIWI program provides nurses the opportunity to learn how to influence health care through the legislative and regulatory processes. Participants learn from health policy experts and government officials, network with other nurses, and visit members of Congress. Read below to learn more about her NIWI experience.

PhotoI appreciate ANNA giving me the opportunity to attend NIWI. It was enlightening and engaging.

I was not able to meet with my California Senators (due to my departure time); however, there were 10 nurses from California who were prepared to meet with legislators. I did go to the press conference on the General Motors ignition switch issue. I was in tears listening to the testimony from parents whose children died in accidents, and how General Motors covered up the issue under the cloud of bankruptcy. The Congresswoman was articulate and engaging as was the head of NHTSA. As a result, I have continued to follow the General Motors saga closely in the Wall Street Journal. All Americans DO have a voice in government, this IS a democracy, and The Hill DOES respond to the pleas of its constituents.

It was a privilege to be in DC when the Senate voted on the reduction in pay and have the “inside scoop”! It was also insightful to network with nephrology nurses and get a political update at lunch from Federal Health Policy Consultant Jim Twaddell.

I came back to the Sacramento region, realizing that political activism also needs to take place at the local level. I joined the California Dialysis Council as an individual member. I have had the opportunity to discuss in person staffing issues in chronic dialysis with Frank Maddux, CMO of Fresenius. Additionally, I have had some conversation with Mike Arnold, lobbyist for the pro-business side of dialysis. At a recent chapter meeting, I was informally appointed to discuss RN-to-patient ratios in dialysis with the California BRN and the California Nurses Association. This is in response to the fact that the for-profits have a 37% increased rate of admission for congestive heart failure and volume overload.

Anne Diroll, RN, CNN
ANNA Health Policy Advisor
Sacramento Valley Chapter #509