Nurses Bestow Highest Honor on 5 Elected Officials

Contact: Dawn Kettinger, 517-721-9688

Bipartisan group receives “Friend of Nursing” awards: Reps. Chang, Kivela (posthumous), Miller, McBroom and  Commissioner Woodward

The Michigan Nurses Association, the largest organization representing registered nurses in Michigan, has recognized five leaders with its highest honor for elected officials.  The “Friend of Nursing” awards were presented at the association’s annual convention Friday in Battle Creek.

“Only the most effective, active advocates for nurses and patients earn the prestigious Friend of Nursing award,” said MNA President John Armelagos, RN. “All of this year’s winners have taken concrete action to drive home the fact that supporting nurses and protecting hospital patients from harm are urgent, nonpartisan issues. We look forward to continuing to work with each of them to advance public policy that will benefit all RNs and all patients in our state.”

The 2017 Michigan Nurses Association Friend of Nursing Award recipients are:

  • State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), sponsor of HB 4630, to stop hospitals from routinely forcing nurses to work more than 12 hours in a row
  • State Rep. John Kivela (posthumous) (D-Marquette), past cosponsor of the Safe Patient Care Act and steadfast advocate for RNs
  • State Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), sponsor of HB 4631, to require hospitals to disclose their RN-to-patient staffing levels to the public
  • Former state Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), past cosponsor of the Safe Patient Care Act
  • Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward, for bringing patient safety concerns into the public eye in conjunction with nurses from Tenet DMC-Huron Valley Sinai Hospital

The family of the late Rep. John Kivela – wife Sandy, daughter Shelby (who is an RN), and son Andrew – attended the event and accepted the award of his behalf, with a moving speech by Shelby.

This is the first year the association has honored more than one recipient with a Friend of Nursing Award. The nurse-leaders who comprise the MNA Board of Directors determined that all five honorees rose to the elite level of going above and beyond in their advocacy.

In particular, the award recognizes the legislators’ work on the bipartisan Safe Patient Care Act (House bills 4629 to 4630 and Senate bills 387 to 389). Together, the package aims to increase patient safety in Michigan hospitals by capping the number of patients a nurse can be assigned, limiting the continuous hours a nurse can be ordered to work, and requiring hospitals to disclose information about their nursing care. More information is available at


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