April 17, 2009

Nursing students voice health care concerns to state legislators

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing students helped rally state legislators last week at the Tennessee Nurses Association's Lobby Day at War Memorial Plaza.

“The health of this state starts with you,” Tennessee Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper, M.S.N., R.N., told the audience of roughly 1,500 nursing students from across the state.

“Each and every day, every decision I make is grounded in nursing; my education, knowledge and experience.”

Groups of students representing schools of Nursing throughout the state shared their chief concerns in the health care arena.

There were more than 150 students representing Vanderbilt's master's program and undergraduate partnerships with Fisk and David Lipscomb universities.

Gary Dodd, who is pursuing the adult nurse practitioner track and a certification in palliative care, represented VUSN students during roll call.

“We ask the Tennessee Nurses Association to place priority on legislation that will promote preventative health care,” Dodd said. “Such laws are far better fiscally and physically than medical interventions that are far more costly once health declines.”

Fisk student Leah Smith spoke for her fellow classmates, emphasizing that obesity in children was their top priority.

Lipscomb student Caleb Sisk represented his fellow classmates, who believe recruiting more minorities into nursing is key.

After the morning session, students met one-on-one with many legislators.
Dodd viewed the day as significant.

“In addition to advocating for their patients, nurses also have the responsibility to support the profession of nursing by expressing their values and concerns in the political process.”