Nurses Day at the Capitol (NDAC) is an annual event that was designed for nurses and nursing students to appreciate the importance of their role in influencing health policy and affecting change in their practice. The 2020 event was held on Wednesday, March 4. This year’s legislative topics include nurse faculty shortage crisis, increasing childhood vaccinations through removal of the personal conviction waiver and the ‘Ask Me First’ patient privacy protection act.
Morning educational sessions prepared attendees for group meetings with their legislators at the State Capitol in the early afternoon. This year’s presenters included Dean Young and two recent UW-Eau Claire nursing alums – Kristin Brunsell (12/2018) and Michael Jaeb (5/2019). Several senior 2 students, a BSN Completion student, a first year pre-nursing student, and two nursing faculty were among the 1000 attendees.
Montana Helling, a first-year pre-nursing student, noted, “Being that it was my first time attending NDAC, I had no idea what to expect. At the end of the day I felt knowledgeable on a variety of different areas: job flexibility in the nursing field, how a bill becomes a law and the power that voices can hold in our nursing community. I would recommend this to anyone looking to expand their horizons within the field of nursing.” Student nurse, Hannah Schutt who will be graduating this May, wrote “The NDAC was an amazing experience. Collaborating with other nursing students, faculty, and practicing nurses, we were able to address prominent issues with our legislators. It felt empowering to be part of something ‘bigger.’”
Clinical Assistant Professor, Gail Hanson Brenner, who has been attending NDAC for the past 14 years, stated “every year is a wonderful experience. Seeing UWEC alumni, several who attended as a student as part of my clinical, and current students speak to legislators on issues regarding nursing practice in Wisconsin is very rewarding as a nursing educator. Every student should attend such an event at least once before graduating!”