Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, providing vital care to patients and communities daily. But did you know that nurses also have the skills and experience necessary to impact the political arena positively? Running for political office is an opportunity for nurses to use their unique understanding of the healthcare system, the needs of patients, and the healthcare needs of communities to create policies and programs that improve healthcare for all. In this blog post, we will explore why nurses should consider running for political office and how they can make a difference in their communities and the healthcare system and share details of a new educational program aimed at helping nurses and midwives develop the skills and knowledge needed to run for public office.
Nurses In Politics
With US Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson‘s retirement, only two nurses now serve in the 435-seat US House of Representatives: Illinois congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Missouri congresswoman Cori Bush.
A nurse has never been elected to the US Senate.Summers, L., & Gordon, K. (2022, October 5). Is there a nurse in the House? Or the Senate? American Nurse; American Nurse Journal. … Continue reading
A 2022 report revealed that out of 7,383 state legislatures elected to serve in 50 states, there were only 76 nurse legislators identified in 36 states.Curley, D. J., & Hannan, J. (2022, September 12). Status report: State nurse legislators 2020-2022. Nursingworld.org.
“The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks state legislators’ occupations. Because so few nurses serve in state legislatures, they don’t even merit an occupational category; they’re included among “other.””Summers, L., & Gordon, K. (2022, October 5). Is there a nurse in the House? Or the Senate? American Nurse; American Nurse Journal. … Continue reading
And “[f]ourteen states lack[ed] nurse policy makers: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.”Curley, D. J., & Hannan, J. (2022, September 12). Status report: State nurse legislators 2020-2022. Nursingworld.org. … Continue reading
Why Nurses in Politics Makes Sense
Nurses should run for political office because they bring a unique perspective and a deep understanding of the healthcare system. They have the skills and experience necessary to make informed decisions and advocate for policies that improve patient care and public health. Additionally, nurses have strong leadership skills and a commitment to service, which are essential qualities for elected officials. Running for political office also allows nurses to directly impact the healthcare system and represent the needs of their communities. Moreover, nurses running for political office can bring a fresh perspective and a different set of ideas to the political arena, which would help to diversify the decision-making process.
According to a recent Gallup poll, nurses have consistently been ranked as the most trusted profession in the United States for 21 years.Gaines, K. (2023, January 25). Nursing ranked as the most trusted profession for 21st year in a row. Nurse.org. https://nurse.org/articles/nursing-ranked-most-honest-profession/ This trust is built on the dedication, compassion, and expertise that nurses bring to their work every day. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, providing vital care to patients and communities. The public’s trust in nurses is a testament to the hard work and dedication that nurses put in every day. Nurses have a direct connection to the healthcare system and the people it serves. Their input and participation in politics and public policy discussions can help ensure that the healthcare system is responsive to the needs of the community.
Challenges for Nurses Entering Politics
As a nurse, the thought of getting involved in politics may seem daunting. The political landscape can be complex and unfamiliar, and it may feel like nurses lack the experience or knowledge necessary to make a difference.
One of the main challenges for nurses getting involved in politics is the lack of political experience. This can make it difficult for them to navigate the political landscape and understand how to make change happen.
Another challenge that nurses face is limited time. Nurses have demanding jobs that require long hours and a lot of dedication. Finding the time to get involved in politics can be difficult, especially when balancing work and personal responsibilities.
In addition, running for political office can be expensive, and nurses may not have the financial resources to fund a campaign. This can make it challenging to get started and mount a successful campaign.
Nurses may also find that they lack established political networks to help them navigate the political landscape and gain support for their campaigns. Building these networks takes time and effort, and it can be difficult for nurses to find the time and resources necessary to do so.
Furthermore, nurses may face resistance or discrimination because of a perception that they are not qualified to hold political office. This can make it difficult for them to gain support and be taken seriously as candidates.
Lastly, Nurses may not have the support of their colleagues or supervisors when they decide to get involved in politics. They may feel that their participation in politics would be seen as a distraction from their primary role, and they may be discouraged from getting involved.
Despite these challenges, nurses can make a real impact in the political arena. With determination and support, they can overcome these obstacles and make a difference in their communities and the healthcare system as a whole.
Healing Politics: Don’t just march. Run for something!
Healing Politics is an educational, non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)3 organization on a mission to inspire, motivate, recruit, & train nurses & midwives to run for elected office up & down the ballot while building a culture of civic engagement within the professions.
The organization envisions a country where every citizen is governed by public policy developed by and reflective of the community they live in, where nurses and midwives are actively engaged in creating policy that improves the nation’s health.
Healing Politics believes that nurses and midwives are eminently qualified for elected office and seeks to:
- Inspire nurses to run for office up and down the ballot
- Identify nurses and midwives who will run and build a community to help them
- Provide non-partisan training to help nurses who run, win
- Promote a culture within the professions where we support our colleagues who enter politics
- Partner with researchers to add to what we know about nurses and midwives in elected office
Campaign School for Nurses and Midwives
Nurses have been front and center during the COVID crisis. We are the most trusted profession in the United States. There’s no better time than the present to run or help nurses and midwives who run, win.
Healing Politics is holding its inaugural Campaign School for Nurses & Midwives to be held May 24 – 27, 2023
The program will begin on Wednesday evening, May 24th, with a welcome/networking reception and run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. All meals are included as the program runs from morning until evening.
The Polis: Center for Politics will host the Campaign School at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy in Durham, NC.
The program aims to demystify the process and offer support before and after the Campaign School! While the 3.5-day, in-person Campaign School is the centerpiece of our training program, it isn’t the entire program.
Approximately 4-6 weeks before Campaign School, there will be a virtual session titled Before You Take the Leap: 10 Questions You Must Answer Before Running. This session will help you prepare for the Campaign School so you can make the most of your time there.
The Campaign School will meet virtually for a follow-up session four weeks after the Campaign School. Did something make sense when you were sitting in the classroom but not when you applied it to your district? After giving your GOTV plan more thought, do you have additional questions? Has anyone used this digital platform before? The Campaign School is (still) here for you!
Over three days of training and role-play, the Campaign School will explore the following topics:
- Campaign Planning
- Campaign Budgeting
- Campaign Structure and Organization
- Messaging and Communications Strategy
- Media training: Speeches, Interviews
- Campaign Finance
- Voters Contact Strategy
- Grassroots Organizing
- Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
Campaign School for Nurses and Midwives Information sessions
If you would like to learn more about the program and faculty, the Campaign School will be holding two information sessions:
Applying to the Campaign School for Nurses and Midwives
Applications for the Campaign School for Nurses and Midwives opened on December 1, 2022.
Attendance will be limited to 50 participants to allow practical, hands-on training and access to the Campaign School’s expert faculty.
The program requires a $1095 financial commitment comprised of $895 tuition + $200 fundraising**
For early birds – the first 20 applicants who are accepted – the cost is $995, $795 tuition + $200 fundraising
A deposit of $150 is due by February 24th, and the remaining tuition balance is due by April 24th.
**Fundraising is an important part of any campaign and a substantial part of the Campaign School’s curriculum. Campaign School experts will teach you everything you need to know about fundraising. You may not love it, but the Campaign School will ensure you’re more comfortable doing it! In the interest of practical, hands-on learning and to keep tuition costs down, the Campaign School will ask every attendee to put their new skills to work and raise $200 within 30 days of completing the Campaign School. This money will be put to good use to sustain the Campaign School.
Healthcare and Politics Need Nurses’ Voices and Perspectives
Nurses have a unique perspective and a deep understanding of the healthcare system, making them well-suited for political office. By getting involved in politics, nurses can make a real difference in their communities and the healthcare system as a whole. They can advocate for policies that improve patient care and public health and bring attention to important healthcare issues. Despite the challenges that nurses may face when getting involved in politics, these obstacles are not insurmountable. With determination and support, nurses can overcome these challenges and make a real impact in the political arena. So, to all the nurses out there, we encourage you to take the leap and get involved in politics. Your voice and your perspectives are needed now more than ever.
|↑1||Summers, L., & Gordon, K. (2022, October 5). Is there a nurse in the House? Or the Senate? American Nurse; American Nurse Journal. https://www.myamericannurse.com/is-there-a-nurse-in-the-house-or-the-senate/|
|↑2||Curley, D. J., & Hannan, J. (2022, September 12). Status report: State nurse legislators 2020-2022. Nursingworld.org.|
|↑3||Summers, L., & Gordon, K. (2022, October 5). Is there a nurse in the House? Or the Senate? American Nurse; American Nurse Journal. https://www.myamericannurse.com/is-there-a-nurse-in-the-house-or-the-senate/|
|↑4||Curley, D. J., & Hannan, J. (2022, September 12). Status report: State nurse legislators 2020-2022. Nursingworld.org. https://www.nursingworld.org/~4a6c69/globalassets/practiceandpolicy/advocacy/state/9.12.22-status-report–nurse-state-legislators-2020-22.pdf|
|↑5||Gaines, K. (2023, January 25). Nursing ranked as the most trusted profession for 21st year in a row. Nurse.org. https://nurse.org/articles/nursing-ranked-most-honest-profession/|
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