The American Nurses Association and American Association of Colleges of Nursing issued statements honoring the life and career of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died Dec. 17 at age 88.
ANA President Karen A. Daley, RN, PhD, FAAN, noted Inouyes leadership in helping to pass the 2002 Nurse Reinvestment Act, which created scholarships for aspiring nurses who agreed to serve at healthcare facilities with a critical nursing shortage.
Inouye also was a staunch advocate for “increasing patients access to care by removing barriers that prevent advanced practice registered nurses from practicing fully,” Daley said.
Inouye also championed the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act in every Congress since 2003. The bill, which would hold hospitals accountable for the development of valid, reliable unit-by-unit nurse staffing plans, has not won enough support to become law.
Inouye “understood the connection between quality of care and safe nurse staffing,” Daley said.
AACN President Jane Kirshling, RN, PhD, FAAN, and CEO Polly Bednash, RN, PhD, FAAN, issued a joint statement noting that Inouye attributed his profound respect for nursing to the care he received after losing his arm during combat in World War II.
“Our longstanding collaboration began with efforts to recognize the important role of nursing research in improving healthcare delivery,” Kirshling and Bednash said.
Inouye was the lead advocate in establishing the National Center for Nursing Research, which became the National Institute of Nursing Research and celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Later, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Inouye “understood the critical importance of federal funding for nursing and healthcare programs and worked across the aisle to ensure these programs received increased funding,” said Kirshling and Bednash, whose organization recognized Inouye with its Congressional Appreciation Award in 2007.