Nursing students learn key role: advocating for patients away from the bedside

By Barb Brady

MNA Communications Specialist

More than 500 student nurses from schools throughout Minnesota learned the importance of advocating for patients at the bedside and in the public arena at MNA’s Student Day on the Hill on April 4.

“You need to get your voices out there for patients and the profession,” Essentia Health Duluth RN and MNA member Emily Kniskern told students and faculty, adding that legislators often are not familiar with nurses’ issues.

“Legislators need nurses’ and patients’ perspectives” so they can make decisions that ensure nurses can safely care for their patients, she said.

Students heard from MNA nurses who gave real-life examples of advocating for patients at the Capitol and in the community.

A panel of former legislators provided the insiders’ perspective and gave advice on lobbying at the Capitol, including the importance of nurses telling their stories.

Busloads of student nurses then traveled to the Minnesota Capitol to speak to their elected officials about critical issues.

They had passionate discussions with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Student nurses said afterward they found the day a rewarding experience and were excited to go out and advocate for patients and the nursing profession!