Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter accompanied seven nursing students to the 42nd Annual Kansas State Nursing Association (KSNA) Legislative Conference in Topeka this year.
The one-day conference is a professional development opportunity for students to learn more about the importance of legislative processes in health care.
Vetter said, “This understanding helps them develop an awareness of how legislation can impact their professional career and why advocacy is important.”
This year, three nursing professionals and two Kansas legislators presented to the crowd of approximately 400 people.
Newman senior Thao Le attended the event to learn more about the legislative side of health care.
Le said, “There were several speakers who presented on topics ranging from opioid abuse, addiction, advocacy and the process in which a bill becomes law. It was a wonderful experience and I would encourage other student nurses to attend.”
Because professional development and continuous learning are essential to the nursing profession, it was the perfect opportunity for students to attend a conference specifically for their future profession.
“The concepts of how the legislative process can affect our lives at work and home and how important it is to be aware is valuable to everyone,” said Vetter. “As future nurses who can be greatly impacted by decisions made by non-nurses, I want the students to understand how their involvement and advocacy can influence these lawmakers.
“Both legislators who spoke talked about the impact constituents could have on decisions. With around 30,000 actively employed professional nurses in the state of Kansas, advocating together could be a very powerful voice.”
Senior Jasmin Rocha said, “I have attended several conferences in the past, such as leadership conferences, conferences related to the clubs I am a part of, culture conferences and so on. However, I have never attended a conference pertaining to my major. This conference helped me to become more aware of the politics involved in nursing and my civic role as a nurse — how I can participate, advocate and have my voice heard.”
Vetter concluded, “Hopefully each student learned new information that will guide their future practice. I believe they may also find the information provided at the conference might change their views about politics and advocacy.”
The conference will be offered again as an optional activity for students next year.