By Megan Gavin
MNA Education Specialist
On April 7, we welcomed 430 student nurses and faculty members from thirteen different colleges and universities to the MNA Student Nurses Day on the Hill. The event began with a social hour giving students an opportunity to network with MNA member leaders representing diverse nursing areas such as mental health, psychiatric nursing, surgery, PACU, oncology, and pediatrics. MNA committee and commission members hosted tables on Governmental Affairs, Nursing Practice, and Education Commissions as well as the MNA Foundation, Universal Healthcare, and the Nurses Peer-to-Peer Support Network.
President Mary Turner gave a welcome and shared her personal journey of becoming a politically active nurse. Barb Forshier, Chair of the Governmental Affairs Commission, spoke about MNA’s various legislative efforts. MNA staff introduced students to the organization as a professional resource by sharing snapshots from MNA’s labor history, historical commitments to social justice, and nursing policy activism. Student nurses also got an overview of MNA legislative priorities. We were thrilled to welcome former legislators to speak on a panel discussion about how nurses can effectively lobby their legislators. Senator Becky Lourey, Representative Patty Fritz, and Representative Joe Radinovich (who joined us on his 30th birthday!) shared examples of constituents who changed their minds on a topic. After the morning program, more than 100 students went to the Capitol to meet with their legislators and try out their newly minted skills.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive:
- 69 percent said that the program inspired them to become politically active nurses
- 95 percent said they would recommend this program to other nursing students
Besides that, here’s what student nurses told us in the evaluations:
“This was very educational! Totally worth the time”
“This was an eye-opening experience that really empowered me to be politically active on issues that I am passionate about.”
“Informational and inspiring- I really enjoyed it”
“Thank you for such an enriching program”
“This was a wonderful session, I will be involved politically with MNA because I have learned that we, the nurses, have a voice.”
“Educational and inspirational- had a lot of fun!”
“Today was a great learning opportunity and makes me even more excited to become an RN.”
“Erin Murphy was outstanding; every nurse should meet her!”
Nurses also requested to learn more about how bills move through the legislature and how MNA determines a political candidate to support; while others want to know more unions, MNA contracts and negotiations for wages, benefits and working conditions; yet some inquired about minority nurses’ issues. MNA thinks Student Nurses Day on the Hill is just the beginning of a larger conversation. We invite all our new Associate Members to register for MNA education sessions to learn more about nurses and the labor movement, nursing practice, and legislative activism. Click here for our events calendar.
As an encouragement for nurses to schedule meeting with their legislators, there was a raffle for attendees who made it to the Capitol. We are happy to announce that Elizabeth Newman and Karissa Lozinski won the Littmann stethoscopes. Elizabeth is currently working full time and will graduate from the RN-BSN program through Bemidji State University in May. Her nursing career began in 2010 when she became an LPN. She completed her AD RN degree in 2014 and is looking forward to advancing her career.
Karissa graduated with her AD from MN State Technical College in Dec. 2014, and will complete her BSN from Bemidji State this summer. She currently works in North Dakota, and at her facility she has observed many situations wherein nurses are mandated to work over 16 hours. She was very interested to learn about the 2007 Mandatory Overtime Prevention law that MNA members helped pass. There is no similar law in North Dakota protecting nurses against mandated overtime. Karissa just accepted a job in Minnesota, and she is excited to be working in a state under the protection of this law.
For those of you who attended and chose to become MNA Associate Members, don’t forget the application deadline for MNA Foundation Scholarships is June 1, 2016. Check out the MNA Foundation section of the website here for details.
Student nurses, thank you for joining us at this event. We are so excited to continue working with you in the years ahead!