Nurses have a powerful voice. We help them use it.
Have you ever wondered, what the pandemic would have looked like if we’d had more health professionals – more nurses – in elected office? Learn why you may want to attend Campaign School!
Lisa Summers, DrPH, FACNM & Kimberly Gordon, DNP, CRNA
Have you ever wondered, What would the pandemic have looked like if we’d had more health professionals – more nurses – in elected office?
If the past three years have shown us anything it is that politics has a dramatic impact on our profession, our healthcare system, our communities, and the individuals we got into this profession to help. Public health measures which should have been driven by data - school and business closings (and re-openings), wearing masks, getting vaccinated – all became political statements. Nurses may not like politics, but the pandemic has demonstrated that many of the issues we face in our workplaces and our communities require political solutions. We learned about the social determinants of health during our nursing education but, in our practice, see all too often the political determinants of health.
While our communities (and nurses!) need better healthcare systems, they also need improvements in transportation and infrastructure, access to healthy food, equitable education, affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and realistic solutions to environmental issues. Would those policies evolve differently if we had more nurses bringing their skills, perspective, and expertise to the rooms where those policies are made?
At Healing Politics, we think so!
Our work grew from a DNP project at Yale School of Nursing, looking at the question of why nurses are underrepresented in elected office, and what it would take to change that. Today, we have only three nurses serving in the U.S. Congress; a nurse has never served in the U.S. Senate. Across the U.S. there are only 76 nurses serving in state legislatures and 16 states do not have a single nurse in their legislature These are the same legislative bodies that are making critical decisions about our scope of practice, basic rights, and allocating $345.3 billion in COVID relief money.
Our scholarly work at Yale (Lisa the advisor, Kimberly a DNP student), led to plans for the first ever Candidate School for Nurses & Midwives, which was scheduled for May 2020. Yes, the pandemic forced its cancellation. But since then, we have incorporated Healing Politics as a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan educational organization with a mission to inspire, motivate, recruit, and train nurses and midwives to run for elected office up and down the ballot while building a culture of civic engagement within the professions.
That cancelled campaign school is on! The inaugural Campaign School for Nurses & Midwives is scheduled for May 24-27, 2023, at the Sanford School of Public Policy in Durham, NC.
Wondering what skills you can bring from nursing to elected office?
- Leading and building teams and working collaboratively.
- Negotiation and conflict management.
- Managing competing priorities.
- Making data driven decisions, sometimes with incomplete data.
- Listening and being an expert communicator.
And you truly understand the social determinants of health. You see health in all policies.
While our campaign school is innovative, and unique, in that it is the only one designed for nurses and midwives, there are hundreds of campaign schools across the country. We learned from studying and connecting with many of them. We have worked with campaign professionals and nurse legislators to develop a curriculum specifically designed to leverage all those skills nurses and midwives can bring to politics, and to address the barriers that keep them from pursuing elected office.
Thinking about it? Ready to run? Applications for the inaugural cohort are open!
Whatever you choose, share Healing Politics with your colleagues.
Representation matters. Research shows that more diversity in our governing bodies leads to better public policy. It is our big audacious goal to inspire and train more nurses and midwives to run for elected office and begin to heal what divides us. There are over 4.1 million nurses and midwives in the U.S. We aren’t all going to run for office, but we can all support those who do. That is a powerful voice.