Belmont University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students Carleigh Smith and Jordan Porter recently attended the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. During the three-day conference, Smith and Porter were immersed in didactic program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Additionally, they were able to visit the office of Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and representatives from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The experience gave Smith and Porter the opportunity to learn more about the influences that policy advocacy has on the country’s health care system.
“As a graduate student in Belmont’s BSN-DNP program, I fiercely believe it is my ethical duty to advocate for the advancement of health in Tennessee and nationwide,” Porter said. “As reforms take place in our healthcare system, nurses at all levels of education must be seated at the table and understand the health policy process to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care for all Americans. This opportunity is a testament to Belmont’s commitment to investing in its graduate nursing students as leaders and advocates in our present and future healthcare system.”
“The wonderful opportunity to participate in the AACN Student Policy Summit enabled me to look outside the clinical focus of FNP training and experience the broader, policy-focused influences that shape healthcare in our community,” Smith added. “As a future DNP, I hope to continue to work towards advocating for my community on a policy level. This summit gave me the building blocks to get started.”