More than 500 registered nurses and nursing students attended the 18th Annual Nurses Legislative Day in Washington state yesterday.
The event was sponsored by the Washington State Nurses Association's (WSNA) Political Action Committee along with the School Nurses of Washington (SNOW) and ARNPs United.
The morning sessions at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts included a panel presentation on the current nursing and health care issues facing the state legislature.
WSNA's top priority this session was the Needlestick Injury Prevention Bill (S.B. 6416).
More than 43,000 needlestick injuries occur in Washington each year, needlessly exposing nurses and other health care workers to life-threatening diseases, such as Hepatitis C and HIV.
This bill would require hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities to use safety needles and devices and involve front-line worker participation in the selection and evaluation of equipment.
The highlight of the morning was the keynote address by Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire, in which she stressed the important role nurses play in public health.
Following the luncheon reception, nursing students and nurses met with their legislators at the Capitol to lobby on needlestick prevention and other important health care issues.