Mary Murphy, Chief Nursing Officer of Hospice of Dayton, was one of four oncology nurses selected to represent the state of Ohio during Capitol Hill Days in Washington DC September 14 -15. Over 100 nurses representating almost every state in the nation were present to learn about political advocacy in health care and speak to local congressmen and senators about issues concerning on Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Care. Murphy has long standing oncology experience as well as certification and participation with the local chapter West Central Ohio/ Oncology Nursing Society Board.
Pictured: (Left) Jan Rafferty, RN, CNS of Five Rivers Health Center, Dayton and (Right) Mary Murphy, RN, MS, AOCN, ACHPN, Ohio’s Hospice
In addition, to preparing for their presentations participating nurses were fortunate to hear from the president of the Oncology Nursing Society, Acting Department Health and Human Services, Director of Government Relations (ANA) as well as meet with two nurse Senators at a legislative reception. The highlight and surprise of the day was a presentation by Vice President Joseph Biden who delivered a powerful speech on the value of nursing, its importance to health care’s future and need for strong initiatives on the war on cancer. Murphy and other Ohio representatives were able to call upon 3 congressmen, Respresentatives Pat Tiberi (R), Mike Turner(R), David Joyce (R), and Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) to support bills H.R. 6 21ST Century Cures Act (also known as the Moonshot Initiative) and H.R. 3117/S.2748 The Palliative Care & Hospice Education and Training Act (also known as PCHETA).
The Moonshot initiative is supported by Vice President Biden (pictured left, addressing the nurses visiting the Capitol) who was tasked to head up a national mission to make advances in cancer prevention, diagnoses and treatment in the next five years. Vice President Biden has established a Blue Ribbon Panel which includes oncologists, cancer researchers, patient advocates and private sector leaders to make recommendations. He is quoted as saying: “This is our moonshot. I know that we can solidify a genuine global commitment to end cancer as we know it today-and inspire a new generation of scientists to pursue new discoveries and the bounds of human endeavor.”
The PCHETA Bill H.R. 3119/S. 2748 is a bill that supports increased education for hospice and palliative care and recommends 24 selected sites to become ”train the trainer sites.” Focus will be on education, awareness, and research. Over 40 organizations have supported this bill including HPNA, ONS, ACS, VNA, as well as the Children’s National Health Network. Murphy will report on this bill in her own worksite as well to the local chapter West Central Ohio Oncology Nursing Society. Murphy says the experience “was a wonderful opportunity” and encourages everyone to participate in advocacy programs to support the mission and cause of improved patient care in the area of oncology, palliative care and hospice.