Letter to senator or Congressperson

  1. Write a letter to your state senator or congressman (woman) to support your position on your selected health policy issue.
  2. Your letter will be submitted as this assignment and should be comprehensive, professional and written in such a way that it can be sent on to your representative.
  3. This should be succinct so that it will be read (no more than one page), but comprehensive enough to demonstrate your knowledge of the issue.
  4. Your letter may be more powerful if you include a strong reference about your main point. If you do, use a footnote so you can put it on the same page.  Submit to your instructor prior to sending. 


Letter to the Editor

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to support your position on your selected health policy issue.  Your letter will be submitted as this assignment and should be comprehensive, professional and written in such a way that it can be sent on to your newspaper editor.  Submit to your instructor prior to sending.


Guidelines for Letter to Legislator:

Writing a letter or email is an effective way of communicating with your legislators. Legislators closely monitor incoming communications and are sensitive to the issues affecting their constituents. They realize that those who take the time to contact them are likely to vote as well.  You can reinforce the effectiveness of your letter or email by following up with a phone call or personal visit to their offices.

First you must decide why you want to contact a local, state or federal legislator.  Refer to governmental websites to help you find the information for the legislator you want to contact.  You will need to choose an issue or a bill that is currently being considered or debated. There is a list of bills being considered on these websites. Give a bill number if there is one.  A federal House bill is identified as HB and a Senate bill as SB.  Your state may list the bills differently and you will have to find the list. Ask your legislator to email or write back to you stating his/her position on the issue/legislation and thank him/her for taking the time to consider your views.  The more letters, emails, and phone calls they receive, the more likely they are to act on the issue.

Be respectful; address the legislator as The Honorable Jane Doe. Make sure you state that you are a constituent in their district and that the issue is very important to you, your family, your colleagues, and/or your patients. You may also write to offer your services as a consultant on specific nursing or healthcare issues if you feel you are qualified.

An example of a successful campaign was when nurse practitioners, who did not have prescriptive authority, wrote letters and emails and lobbied the legislators until they won the ability to write prescriptions.

Below is a sample pre-formatted letter from ANA for nurses to sign and email. This is only one example:

Aug 15, 20XX

The Honorable, Senator ____(full name)____________________
Hart Senate Office Building, Room XXX
120 Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20510-0905

Dear Senator Nelson,

As a nursing student and future nurse on the frontlines of our health care system, I am writing to express my strong support for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Funding key provisions in ACA should remain a priority in order to secure our national health care system.

Alarmed by the growing numbers of uninsured individuals and families, rising costs, and quality of care concerns, ANA advocated for health reform since the 1991 publication of Nursing’s Agenda for Health Care Reform. The guiding principle of ANA’s reform efforts since the outset is that health care is a basic human right.

Numerous ACA provisions were adopted to create a more effective and efficient health care system. New rules allow APRNs’ to lead health care teams and increase the delivery of primary care services. Provisions aim to move healthcare from an illness oriented model to a model focused on wellness and prevention.  The goal is to provide timely and convenient quality care.

As the largest group of clinical health care professionals within the health delivery system, licensed registered nurses are on the front lines of care and experience the positive or negative impact of your decisions. I strongly believe that affordable, accessible, quality health care should not be a partisan or political issue. I urge you to
place patients first and oppose any proposal that seeks to rescind the Affordable Care Act.
Ms. _____________________, Nursing Student
___________ Drive, Anytown, USA 12345

Select a current legal or social health concern.

  1. Identify one issue (or bill) and clearly identify it.
  2. Briefly state why is it a concern?
  3. How has this concern been addressed? Cite the literature (peer reviewed article) to support your issue.
  4. Keep the email or letter brief and to the point.
  5. Let the legislator know how the legislation will affect you, your family, your colleagues, or your patients.
  6. Urge the legislator to take action in support of your views and thank him/her for taking the time to consider your views.
  7. Submit letter to Canvas in the designated Assignment Section.


Advocacy Letter Grading Rubric:

Issue is clearly identified and presented with evidence-based reference

Identify a health problem that is of public health concern as evidenced by its coverage in the community, the news/media or nursing literature. Provide the reference point for this health problem (i.e. Where was it identified as a concern?).


15 points
Body of the letter or summary of experience

Identify yourself and the reason that you are advocating for this health concern and population.

This should include several sentences that identify the scope and nature of the problem, why it is of significance to public health or the population’s health that you are advocating for.

25 points
Provide evidence for the health problem identified (footnote).

You can identify a Healthy People 2020 objective that this addresses (you don’t have to footnote this-you can include this in the text of the letter/summary) as well as one reference.


10 points
Let the legislator know how the legislation will affect you, your family, your colleagues, or your patients.


15 points
Include the action steps that you are advocating for, or in a summary what actions you would recommend based on your research of the problem.  (0-2 points)


15 points
Urge the legislator to take action 10 points
Business letter format, sentence structure, spelling, grammar

Writing – Letter or Summary of experience is written professionally.

Well-constructed letter with evidence provided about the health concern and need for advocacy in the population; actions flow from the evidence/experience



10 points
TOTAL 100 points