Blog Post

Nurses Association Fights for Policy Change (STAT)

Aug. 10, 2017

By Maile Richardson

A new story by STAT turned to Joanne Spetz, Healthforce Center's associate director of research, for her take on the California Nurses Association (CNA)’s long tradition of results-oriented advocacy. Most recently, the organization has pushed for a single-payer health care system in the state. 

“Historically, the nurses have had the upper hand in labor negotiations. That’s partly because in some areas of California it represents most or all of the registered nurses, including many thousands who work for the managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente,” Spetz said. 

In recent months, the CNA has leveraged their supporters to pressure the state legislature to pass Senate Bill 562, which would provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage for all residents of the state. Demonstrators at the Capitol can be seen chanting “shame on you” in the hallways, unfurling banners in the rotunda, and rallying in whatever spaces they can fill. The campaign is also taking place online.  

One of the CNA’s most notable successes was the 1999 passage of the strict nurse-to-patient legislation, which was the first mandate of its kind in the nation. They have shown that they will go after anyone, no matter their party affiliation, when it comes to preventing the overturn of laws they have helped pass, protecting employee pensions, and pushing for campaign finance reform. 

Healthforce Center is a leading source of research insights into the nursing workforce. For more than two decades we have conducted studies and surveys of the nursing workforce, including supply and demand, training requirements, nurse specialties and scope of practice regulations. 

For additional information about the nursing field, check out our most recent annual report that surveyed hospital RN employees.

Maile Richardson is an assistant with Healthforce Center. She supports multiple leadership programs and is interested in diversity and equality in the health care industry.

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