On September 26, 2020, the Nursology.net management team sent the following letter to the American Nursses Association, urging the organization to take a stand on the U.S. Presidential election candidates. We believe that given the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racism, nursing’s strong voice of advocacy for the health of the nation must be heard. Here is the letter in its entirety:
September 26, 2020
Dr. Loressa Cole, ANA Enterprise CEO
Dr. Ernest J. Grant, President, ANA President
Dr. Debbie Hatmaker, Chief Nursing Officer, ANA Enterprise
American Nurses Association
Dear Drs. Cole, Grant and Hatmaker:
The Management Team of Nursology.net is writing to urge the American Nurses Association (ANA) to reverse its position against endorsing any candidate for President/Vice President in the 2020 election. We understand that the ANA reversed its previous policy to endorse presidential candidates based on the desire to “engage nurses in the voting process through providing accurate information and data and promoting nursing’s political advocacy role without alienating an entire contingency…acknowledging the reality of political polarization in this country” (ANA 2019 Membership Assembly Consideration of ANA’s Presidential Endorsement Process).
The recent draft of the document, Nursing’s Scope and Standards (2020), specifies nursing’s social contract with the public. The document includes nursing’s commitment to reject racism and promote equity and social justice for all. In addition, the document points to nursing’s accountability and responsibility to promote the health of all populations and to advocate for social and environmental justice, and access to high quality and equitable health care.
The proposed ANA Scope and Standards contradicts the ANA position against endorsing a presidential candidate if a particular candidate is a threat to equity, social justice, equitable healthcare and health for the population. While we respect that the Board made their decision thoughtfully, the current situation calls for a reconsideration based on the positions of the current administration that threaten public health. Scientific American, a journal who has never endorsed a candidate for president, has broken with their policy because of the dangerous anti-science views of the President
Today, the country needs to hear nursing’s voice related to this election from the ANA. We find ourselves in the midst of a perfect storm fueled by the mismanagement of a global pandemic, a health and environmental crisis from rampant fires, storms and floods attributed by scientists to climate change, and the public health crisis of systemic racism.
Many have referred to this election as the most consequential in recent history, certainly in our lifetimes. This is not the time for the nursing profession to sit out and fail to exercise our unified voice and moral authority. As the discipline focused on caring for the health and well-being of the people with an understanding of how the physical, social, political and economic environment influences health and well-being, and as the most trusted profession, the ANA must speak out against the policies of the current administration and endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President. Please reconsider your position based on the actions taken by President Trump after your vote in 2019.
Here are a few reasons why we urge the ANA to reconsider and endorse the presidential ticket that is aligned with nursing values and actions and protects the public health:
- The current administration’s lack of leadership to enact policies to stem the rising incidence of COVID-19 infections, including the President’s lack of providing timely information to the public that could have prevented thousands of infections and death
- The current administration’s policies that have threatened accessibility to healthcare for millions of Americans by working to overturn the advances made through the ACA
- The current administration’s position that denies human contributions to climate change and fails to support policies to abate its dangers.
- The current administration’s lack of acknowledgement of the racial injustices experienced by people of color, especially Black people, at the hands of law enforcement.
- The current administration’s policies of family separation at the border resulting in hundreds of children being placed in inhumane and dangerous conditions to their health and well-being.
- The current administration’s lack of meaningful responsiveness to address the public health crisis of gun violence.
While the recommendations of the ANA’s Presidential Endorsement Process (2019) advocate for individual nurses to participate in election activities at the local, state and national levels and take advantage of educational opportunities to learn about the candidates that will inform their voting, nurses will look to the ANA for leadership, especially now. The ANA is the voice of the profession, and this is not the time for that voice to be silent. Without a unified position, the nursing profession is invisible, and the public trust in nursing’s commitment to protecting public health is compromised. Individual nurses can always vote their choice, but the unified voice of our profession is critical at this time in our history.
Please reverse your position and endorse the candidates that will advance policies that protect the health of the public. We cannot be silent. To be silent is to be complicit.
Thank you for your serious consideration of this request.
Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, DSc(Hon), FAAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Dillard-Wright, MA, MSN, CNM, RN email@example.com
Rosemary William Eustace, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC
Jacqueline Fawcett, RN, PhD, ScD(hon), FAAN, ANEF
Jane Flanagan, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AHN-BC, FNAP, FNI, FAAN
Dorothy Jones, RN, PhD, FAAN
Deborah Lindell, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, Deborah.Lindell@gmail.com
Chloe Olivia Rose Littzen, MSN, RN, AE-C
Leslie H. Nicoll, PhD, RN, FAAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Adeline Falk-Rafael, PhD, RN, FAAN email@example.com
Marlaine C. Smith, RN, PhD, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC, FAAN
Marian Turkel, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, FAAN
Danny Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN