The preparation of all three letters to Representative Lauren Underwood and Senators Tammy Duckworth and Richard Durbin was eventful and full of unforeseen gains. My initial insight focused on the changes that would come with the passage of the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019. It is a bipartisan bill that “expands and reauthorizes through FY2024 specified nursing workforce development programs” (US Congress, 2019).
As the process continued, it dawned on me that I would need to form a connection with them. These legislators were elected on a public platform to serve multitudes, and there was a chance that the letter-writing means of communication was a common approach for them. By establishing a relationship with the person in office, I needed to recognize that they were in an advantageous position and capable of influencing the bill in my favor. Therefore, the way to present my letter to my representative would have to be courteous and firm, which could define whether they would read and offer to support the bill.
The experience of communicating with elected officials is an effective platform for the electorate. With the legislators representing thousands, letters offer a unique platform for one to feel heard as they make their case. For instance, when I prepared the notes for the three legislators and wrote them down, it felt like an uninterrupted conversation that represented my perspective and that of many RNs who could not find the time to write to support this bill.
While it is too late to imply this in my paper in much more detail, I recognize now that I was in a position, as part of the electorate, to hold the person in office accountable. My profession has challenges that could be mitigated should the bill pass in both Houses. Seeking the pledge of the representatives translates into a campaign for my wishes and those of the health sector. Overall, I appreciated the experience as it gave me answers to questions I never knew about the legislative process and how the electorate could become a part of it.
US Congress. (2019). H.R.728 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019. Congress.gov. Web.