Beacons of Light: Nursing Students in School Study on Future Advocacy and Leadership Involvement
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Session presented on Thursday, September 25, 2014: Nursing students are becoming more aware of the issues affecting patient outcomes, workforce morale, education, and practice among many other concerns inhabiting the nursing profession. In 2010, the fiscal budget for nursing workforce development was $243 million compared to $223.8 million allocated in 2014 and projected for 2015 (Wood, 2014). Wood (2014), addressed a decrease of $19.2 million in fiscal budget being allocated in this sector, this may undoubtedly result in barriers when providing safe and competent patient care (Wood, 2014). As nursing students, we can contribute extensively in advocacy and furthermore foster the proud tradition of the Nightingale legacy. Nursing students have the fortitude, dedication, and tools to have our voices heard in order to support and promote legislative bills that will affect our profession in areas such as workforce development, retention, and recruitment to mention a few. Presently, we have exemplary nursing lobbyists advocating in Congress that come from many different specialties and nursing backgrounds, but a stronger nursing student coalition or movement is needed as a lobbying force. Students who do not seek membership into professional organizations during the various nursing programs learn about healthcare policy late into the program thus taking longer to learn about healthcare policy. However, if we can incorporate earlier healthcare policy education into the program as well as forming an active nursing student lobbying club that meets regularly with the purpose of advocacy, we can provide a future in nursing that is permeated in leadership and confidence. As members of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Students Nursing Association (NSNA), students can join such coalition forces to upkeep the Nursing Workforce Development Program under Title VIII funds enabling the supply and distribution of resources needed to meet the nations nursing needs (Gonzalez & Maryland, 2012). As members of our respective lobbying clubs at school, we can make this difference and promote change. Shaping students by fostering unity among us and leadership skills will undoubtedly equip the novice with ardor, devotion, courage, knowledge, and the tools to allow our voices to be heard in legislation where change occurs.