6 Step Guide to Visit Your Legislator
In order to move safe patient limits forward for hospitals and nursing homes, we need local nurses to reach out to key legislators across the state, schedule a meeting, and ask them to stand with us. Below are six steps, to an effective legislator meeting, and this packet includes materials pages for you, and pages to give to legislators. If you are interested in leading a visit to your legislator, please sign up here.
1. Find a time to visit your legislator’s office + let us know!
Use our Legislative Tracker to find your legislators, and see whether they support safe patient limits. If they do not yet support, then call between Mon-Fri 9am-4pm to schedule a time to meet them in their local office, and let us know when and where your meeting is at firstname.lastname@example.org. If they already support, call to thank them for their support, and then pick other legislators near you who do not yet support to schedule visits with.
2. Recruit a team of nurses to join you for your lobby visit.
Legislators are most likely to listen to nurses who (a) live in their district and (b) show that they’re not alone. Assemble a team by inviting nurses you know, and/or by asking us at email@example.com how to connect with nurses nearby. Use the sign-in sheet in the lobby packet to keep track of who attends and how to reach them for future events. (Even if you know everyone, these are really helpful for us, so please use them!)
3. Print out our lobby packet with materials for you and information to give legislators.
The lobby packet has informational sheets to give to legislators with the bill numbers, what we’re asking for, who we are, and evidence on why safe patient limits will work and save lives. Click here to download and print the lobby packet. You can find additional resources and research on our Resources page if you like.
4. Share your experience of why safe patient limits save patients’ lives.
Remember – most legislators really don’t know this, and you really do. Don’t shortcut this. If they don’t understand why safe staffing saves lives, why would they support it?
5. Ask if the legislator will co-sponsor House Bill 867 / Senate Bill 450 for limits in hospitals, and support safe patient limits for nursing homes.
Beware of legislators and staff saying “we fully support you”, or “I’ll vote for it if it comes up”, or “I love nurses”. If they really support us, then they will add their name to the safe patient limits bill as a co-sponsor.
6. Get a photo and make a plan to follow up as a team.
Most meetings require follow up before your candidate or legislator fully signs on. Get a group photo, a clear and legible photo of the sign-in sheet and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Exchange contact info with other nurses there, and make a plan to follow up by phone until your legislator signs on. Lastly, make sure to fill out our report form at NursesOfPA.org/LobbyReport to share details of how it went to incorporate your experiences into our lobbying plan and strategy!