Identify a local, state, or federal healthcare issue that affects nursing/healthcare.
Issues can be found in local newspapers, publications from the ANA/PSNA, AJN, Nursing 2012, and RN magazines also highlight political issues in nursing. You can also find issues in The American Nurse Today and Capital Update, the ANA and PSNA.
Identify the individual who is to receive your letter. You can learn who you state and local legislators are by calling the county office or the local League of Women Voters at 1-800-692-7281. This information is also available online at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find
Make sure you choose the correct “salutation” e.g. though you may begin your letter to a Congressperson with Mr. or Ms., the letter should include their formal title in the address section to the left above the salutation.
This web site gives you examples: https://execsec.od.nih.gov/correspondence/forms-of-address.asp
Additional guidelines for letter writing:
Letter may be sent electronically according to the guidelines on a legislator’s web site.
Be certain that your name and address are on the letter.
Identify yourself as a student nurse and state why your entry into the profession of Nursing makes this a significant issue for you.
Limit your letter to one subject. Include a specific bill number from the current legislative session. Make sure your name and address are on the letter.
Identify yourself as a student nurse and explain why your entry into the nursing profession makes this an important issue for you.
Keep your letter to one topic. Include a bill number from the most recent legislative session.
Be brief. Limit your letter to one page.
Be specific. Provide facts and figures to support your views or give anecdotal data on how your clients or families have been or may be affected.
Emphasize the positive or negative impact of proposed legislation and what the proposed legislation will mean to the legislator’s constituents in terms of healthcare.
Be polite and reasonable. A positive-sounding letter is usually an effective tool even if you are asking the legislator to oppose a piece of legislation.
Grading will be based on clarity, neatness, thoroughness and adherence to this rubic
Some useful sites:
Bills in Congress/Committees/Congressional Members
PA Bills in Congress
Pennsylvania General Assembly
Helpful hints for completing the assignment:
Make sure you are addressing YOUR local, state, or federal representative
Make sure you are using the current session bill number. If a bill does not make it out of committee or is not voted on during the two-year congressional session it is considered dead. If the bill is reintroduced in the next congressional session the bill number and/or identifying title will be different. Pay attention to this! Your letter will not get any attention if you are using an incorrect bill number. In the past few years students addressing the issue of nurse:patient ratios have used an old bill number to request help from their legislator. The bill number they are using has been reassigned to a bill protecting wild salmon for predators! Consider how this looks to the representative you are addressing.
If you are referencing a statistic e.g. lives saved with lower ratios, provide your reference. In the case of ratios, your reference might be a published article from a journal. Provide the representative with your source.
Make sure you have addressed each required element.