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Apr
18

Stumping

As you may or may not be able to tell from this blog, I’m somewhat of a political junkie. I’m also a feminist. Hello, Captain Obvious. I make no apologies for my beliefs but I have generally tried to be careful about broadcasting them far and wide, for fear of alienating readers.

But I learned something recently: Everything is political.

One of the challenges of becoming a nurse has been understanding that when one is in survival mode (you student nurses know this mode well), one often neglects to look outside oneself. Case in point: I started 2008 completely gung-ho about the upcoming presidential election. I volunteered at phone banks, served as a Communications Director in a grassroots organization, and contributed a chapter to a book about youth involvement in the Obama campaign.

And then I started nursing school. It was all I could do to watch the news and yell at pundits from my living room couch, while I drowned under piles of pharmacology flash cards. I wept tears of joy on Election Night and on Inauguration Day. And I got back to the work of learning how to become a nurse. I took my head out of the sand once or twice to get on my soapbox, but for the most part I kept my eyes on the prize. As did my cohort. Even organizing a leadership forum on health care reform wasn’t enough to energize us (although we did have some healthy debates in class).

But I recently had the honor of representing my state nurses association at our annual House of Delegates. We voted on action items and revised policy and engaged in healthy debate about the essence of nursing. We took a stand. And it rocked my world.

I sat between a retired nurse who had served as a delegate for decades and a younger nurse who was extremely involved in the nurses association and spoke out numerous times throughout the day. They both reminded me of an important truth about nursing…

It’s easy to stick your hand in the sand and feel removed from the larger issues affecting our profession. But when hundreds of us come together in one room and have a healthy discussion about the future (and present) of nursing, you start to realize that you are part of something bigger than yourself.

I plan to continue serving as a delegate in the future, and possibly even running for election in one of our cabinets. Behind all the bs that we see and hear in today’s political climate (a climate I hate), is that reality that everything is political. Even (especially?) nursing. So it behooves us to stand up and advocate for our profession.

How will you take a stand?

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