Caring For Our Nation’s Caretakers


If nursing hasn’t exactly been on your radar, then National Nurses Week 2013 is the time to take notice. To celebrate the hard work that nurses across the country have invested in keeping our citizens healthy, we want to show how some of our tools can be helpful to keep track of policy issues which affect our nation’s caretakers.

Scout allows anybody to track bills, legislation, voting, and so on via email and SMS alerts. For this post, I’ve set up an alert for several bills and topics relating to nursing. For example, I’ve included key phrases such as “nurse-midwife,” “mandatory overtime,” and “nurse practitioner.” Bills in Congress include “S.183: Hospital Payment Fairness Act of 2013” and “S. 150: Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.” Anybody can set up their own feed and create customized alerts based on their specific interests.

Another useful Sunlight tool is Capitol Words, which allows users to search and/or compare the words that legislators use daily. The following chart shows the instances of the use of the term “nursing” in a ten year period: between 2003 and 2013, by party.

Capitol Words also provides other statistics relating to nursing. In the past five years, Democrats have consistently mentioned nursing more than Republicans, and California is the top state. Senator Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., spoke the most about nursing, trailed by Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of the legislation which affects nursing is important – these policies will determine the short and long-term vitality of the nursing profession.