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The SPN Healthcare Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC) engages and acts with pediatric nurses to promote and improve the health and healthcare for all children and their families through advocacy in health care organizations and by influencing public policy.  

HPAC provides advocacy resources, offering ideas and suggestions for developing and enhancing your advocacy role and empowering you to make a difference by expanding your advocacy work from clinical health care settings to forums with our elected leaders. 

Every pediatric nurse can be an advocate as s/he has the passion and skills needed to promote positive outcomes for children in all settings. 

Health Policy Priorities (as of January 2024)

  1. Nursing Staffing Shortages: The nursing shortage is having an overwhelming impact on our pediatric nursing community.

  2. Pediatric Mental Health: There is a shortage of adequate resources for children with mental health issues. Pediatric nurses need to be equipped with assessment, knowledge and skills to provide beneficial and effective care to every child.

  3. Pediatric Violence and Injury
    1. Unintentional - This has traditionally been the leading cause of morbidity and mortality across all age groups, excluding the birth to 1-year age range. Our pediatric nurses are responsible for assessing for risk factors for injury and providing anticipatory guidance r/t injury prevention. Rising incidence since onset of COVID-19 pandemic.
    2. Maltreatment - Pediatric nurses aid in identification and recognition of physical violence and provide guidance and resources to support the child and their families
    3. Emotional/Psychological - Pediatric nurses aid in identification and recognition of emotional injury and provide guidance and resources to support the child and their families.  
    4. Gun Violence - Pediatric nurses play an important role, along with parents, to support and educate patients about Gun Violence. Learn More Here > 

  4. Health Disparities: It is the responsibility of every pediatric nurse to advocate and understand how health disparities influence the provision of person-centered care. 

    "Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion."(taken from Healthy People 2020)

  5. Social Determinants of Health: SPN advocates and partners with key stakeholders to influence social determinants of health that impact children. 

    “Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. They are broken down into five categories: Economic Stability, Education Access and Quality, Health Care Access and Quality, Neighborhood and Built Environment, and Social and Community Context.” (taken from Healthy People 2030)

  6. Sexual and Gender Identity: SPN advocates for the unique growth, development and emotional needs for the LGBTA+ pediatric community. Bills are being introduced challenging healthcare access for transgender youth in several states. SPN is putting together resources for our members to have a voice within their states to advocate for our patients and their families.  Learn More Here > 

  7. Pediatric Physical Wellness: SPN believes that a key component of pediatric nursing is to facilitate health promotion and illness prevention.

Have an Issue You Would Like the HPAC to Explore?

Is there a pediatric nursing issue you would like HPAC to explore and potentially address? Send an email to [email protected] and include links to supporting information around the issue.