ANNA Member Teresa Villaran Reflects on 2021 Nurse In Washington Internship Program

ANNA member Teresa Villaran participated in the virtual Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program on April 19-22, 2021. 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. Read below to learn more about her NIWI experience.

Note: Teresa's attendance was funded by a grant administered through the ANNA awards, scholarship, and grant program and sponsored by Nursing Economic$, the Journal for Health Care Leaders. Click here to find out how you can apply for a grant to attend a future NIWI program.

PhotoI was awarded the 2021 Nurse in Washington Internship Grant. NIWI, which was held virtually on April 19-22, 2021, is a way to learn how to advocate on the federal level for policy that affects nursing in general and nephrology nursing in particular.

NIWI is sponsored by the Nursing Organizations Alliance. The goals of the program are for each attendee to learn:

  • how to be a health policy influencer.
  • how to communicate effectively with legislators.
  • the differences among advocacy, campaigning, lobbying, and giving testimony.
  • how to choose key issues impacting nursing and health care that interest you.
  • how to identify, get to know and influence your legislators (Nursing Organizations Alliance, 2019).

This year, the topics for advocacy included increasing funding through appropriations for the Title VIII Nursing Workforce and Reauthorization and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), making permanent the emergency access authorizations for telehealth through Medicare and extending them into Medicaid, and utilizing nurses as experts in governmental leadership/advisory roles.

The program was informative and taught nurses why it is important to get involved in policy. The program focused on how to talk with and get to know elected officials. It assumed that the nurse participants were at a certain level of advocacy involvement. It also assumed nurses were familiar with Title VIII and NINR. It was clear that as nurses, we must recognize our role as experts within health care and take that role seriously.

It was a great experience attending NIWI, and I would recommend it to all. ANNA offers grants for members to attend NIWI, and I recommend everyone apply. Stay engaged!

Teresa Villaran, MS, MSN, CNN, CCRN(Alumnus)
NIWI Grant Recipient
Bluegrass Chapter #322