Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of pieces celebrating National Nurses Week (May 6-12).
Outside of emergency rooms and away from battlefield medical tents where they’ve long cared for wounded comrades, nurses from different eras and services have gathered in a new environment for a new mission: using virtual space to advocate for military health care.
Since its establishment in 2016, MOAA’s Uniformed Services Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter has connected online and over the phone to discuss legislation, strategic plans, and personnel benefits. The group has grown to 174 members from 43 states across 115 congressional districts.
“My hands are not on patients right now, but I absolutely feel – through MOAA – I can take care of servicemembers and their families,” said Col. Jeri Graham, USA (Ret), president of the chapter. “It’s not exactly in the same way, but it’s through advocacy. I felt this was something people could really identify with.”
MOAA Celebrates National Nurses WeekCheck out these stories of service from MOAA members:
The chapter initially was created just for Army nurses, but expanded to include all services. Its members don’t meet in person, but gather online monthly to share camaraderie through their service and experience.
“This is different for many people, to have this type of chapter,” Graham said. “If you look at what’s happening across the country and the world, it’s certainly the wave of the future. We’re looking at different ways to have people connect.”
Like all MOAA chapters, the virtual group tracks national issues and pushes for legislation in the best interest of servicemembers past and present, and their families. Graham said the groups provides an outlet for advocates to express their passion and continue fighting.
“We’re fostering the advocacy mission,” she said. “They are able to continue caring for servicemembers and their families as they did, but in a different way by being able to demonstrate that caring and commitment to them through advocacy.”