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Check Out The Legislative Roundtable Priorities On The Website!

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, April 16, 2020


                           NOVA’s 26th Legislative Roundtable 

                            Ernestine Goode, MSA, BSN, RN, CRRN, CBIS

                          Central Virginia VA Health Care System

                         NOVA Chapter 420


NOVA’s 26th Legislative Roundtable took place at the DAV Headquarters in Washington, DC on March 6, 2020. Participants were welcomed by the Disabled American Veterans’ Assistant National Legislative Director, Marquis Barefield, and NOVA President Kelly Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN.

NOVA: NOVA’s Legislative Co-chairpersons, Michelle Salazar and Cecilia McVey, reviewed the 2020 Legislative Priority Goals:  

  • Budget – Ensure an adequate budget that provides critical funding so that all VISNs and Medical Facilities can provide care and services to its population.

  • Access/Community Care Network – Maximize Veteran access to care through effective use of technology, efficient clinical practice and role enhancement for all nursing personnel.

  • Staff/Recruitment and Retention – Recruit and retain a highly qualified nursing workforce with a budget to support modern staffing models.

Office of Nursing Services Update: Beth Taylor, CNO, shared:

  • VA Nursing Workforce: There are currently 106,000 nurses in the VHA Healthcare System with 22% that are eligible for retirement and the average age is 48.2, 10-11% are less than 30 years of age. VA is the largest attractor for new graduates.

  • Full Practice Authority for APRNs –Full Practice Authority was approved for APRNs in October 2019. All except one VA has granted full practice authority and/or in the process of implementation. This is fully supported by Dr. Stone and his team.

  • Modernization of the VA – Chief Nursing Officer reports to the Undersecretary of Health with operational responsibilities for Geriatrics and Extended Care, Pharmacy, and Sterile Processing Center. The leadership for these clinical programs will have additional responsibilities.


Association of VA Nurse Anesthetists (AVANA): Outcomes data, salary caps, and military transfer out to VA has been very challenging due to practice and salary, parental leave for Title 38, underused nurse anesthetists for opioid crisis.

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) – The hearing on March 6, 2020 on HR 11-33 and S4-62- Collective Bargaining Rights, equal voice in the VA. The Accountability Act – S221 – Report to Licensing Board & Data Bank HR353 – includes reporting requirements.

Director of Government Affairs – S221 & HR 3530 – looking for common ground, ongoing credentialing review.

Government Relations of America – Focused on Suicide Prevention and Access to Mental Health Care, legislative adjustments where necessary concern about turn over, continuity of leadership from VA centers to VACO, constant reform, full practice for nurse anesthetists from DOD to VA, Title 8 funding (not kept pace with inflation) COVID-19, executive order to practice at top of licensure, access to care, and minimize use of opioids.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)- Surveys all SCI centers; SCI System of Care (17, 000) receive care- 2019 shortage of 6000 SCI nurses due to Human Resources (HR) delays, lack of custodial assistance, physicians in VA understand the SCI systems of care better compared to the private sector.

American Nurses Association (ANA) - COVID-19 concerns about shortage of N95 masks, considering the N96 masks, 24- hour topic of discussion, plan to agree to eliminate mandatory OT for nurses, workplace violence against nurses, and remove data waiver for APRNs.

American Psychological Association (APA) - Suicide Prevention, develop Comprehensive Legislative Model – Access HR 5697, any Veteran regardless of enrollment, discharge status will receive care for acute crisis and will not be billed.

The attendees at NOVA’s Legislative Roundtable included; representatives from the House Committee of Veterans Affairs, VA Office of Nursing Service, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Veterans Service Organizations: American Legion, DAV, Iraq & Afghan Veterans of America, Military Offices Association of America (MOAA), PVA, Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses, American Academy of Nursing, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NOVA Legislative Committee, NOVA Nurse Emeritus, NOVA Board of Directors, and NOVA Staff. 

Check out the Roundtable Attendees’ Priorities that are available on the NOVA website!

Tags:  DVA  Roundtable  VHA 

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A Message from Our President

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020




Dear NOVA Members,

Have you ever thought about using your knowledge and experience as a nurse to advocate for improving VA health care beyond the local facility level, at the state or national level? Does policy and advocacy interest you? If so, you should seize the opportunity to join us, your fellow NOVA members, at NOVA on the Hill Day on March 5th Click Here to Register and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable Click Here to RSVP on March 6th in Washington, D.C. Getting involved and creating change can have a significant positive impact on both your professional development and Veterans’ care.

Nurses instinctively protect their patients’ rights and welfare. They are advocates for quality of care improvements, and are in an ideal position to engage in political activism. However, this isn’t a new concept. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, also known as The Lady with the Lamp, utilized evidence and political tactics to improve sanitary health conditions for the British soldiers during the Crimean War which led to changes in the health care delivery system.

If nurses don’t participate, policy decisions will be made without nursing input, which is unacceptable. Decision makers need to hear from nurses. The Institute of Medicine’s Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading change, Advancing Healthcalled for an increase in leadership from nurses at all levels, including front line staff nurses to nurse executives. All nurses can demonstrate their role as a leader by serving as an advocate and addressing public policy through the legislative process. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing your personal experiences. Politicians want to know how legislative issues affect their constituents. 

Having a voice on Capitol Hill is pivotal, and NOVA is the Voice of VA Nurses on Capitol Hill. Therefore, we must band together to improve health outcomes and effect change. There is power in numbers. The VA employs more than 80, 0000 nurses, so we should be a force not to be reckoned with. I encourage you to participate in advocacy and policy to strengthen NOVA Nurses’ impact in Washington D.C. by attending NOVA on the Hill Day and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable in March 2020. These are wonderful opportunities for you to meet face-to-face with your representatives in Congressmen and Senators from professional nursing organizations as well as Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). Don’t miss out!

In closing, I would like to thank you for providing exceptional care day in and day out to America’s heroes across this great nation. Your passion is commendable. 

With appreciation,

Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN


Tags:  Capitol Hill  health care  Hill Day  Kelly Skinner  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill Day  Nurses  President  Roundtable  VA  VSO 

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