AACN Hosts Inaugural Nursing Student Policy Summit Sponsored by the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) commences its inaugural Nursing Student Policy Summit in Washington, DC for the next generation of health policy leaders. Sponsored by the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence and the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, the summit coincides with AACN’s 2010 Spring Annual Meeting and features a variety of presentations by policy experts, interactive discussions with Washington insiders, lobbying visits to U.S. members of Congress, and strategic networking opportunities.

“The Student Policy Summit could not have come at a more perfect time in our country’s history as Congress moves closer to national healthcare reform,” said AACN President Fay Raines. “Nursing needs more advocates in the policy arena to ensure that meaningful reform results in increased access to care, decreased costs, and improved quality. By stimulating interest among baccalaureate and graduate nursing students in shaping health policy, AACN is working to prepare tomorrow’s nursing leaders to be effective advocates for change at the federal and state levels.

Featured speakers at the Student Policy Summit include Dr. Patricia Grady, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research; Dr. Deborah Trautman, Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and former health fellow to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Darlene Curley, Executive Director of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence and former Maine State Legislator; and Dr. Kathleen McCauley, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The meeting agenda also includes a panel presentation by key Capitol Hill staff, visits to House and Senate offices, and a reception on Capitol Hill with legislators and nursing school deans.

“We’re enormously pleased to support AACN’s visionary efforts to involve today’s nursing students in complex policy issues,” said Darlene Curley, Executive Director of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. “They will soon be central to our evolving health care system and with a clear understanding of the connections between policy and practice, they will be able to develop a strong voice for the profession and their patients – a key goal of our work.”

While the summit was originally planned for 100 students, generous support from the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, the Johnson & Johnson Campaign, and the Center for Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing enabled AACN to accommodate 135 students (room capacity). Given the strong demand for this program and the long interest list generated from this year’s event, AACN hopes to expand the capacity of next year’s summit.

“AACN is so fortunate to have partners like the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future and the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, the summit’s primary sponsor, who share our commitment to investing in future leaders of the nursing profession,” added Dr. Raines.

To generate interest in this event, AACN offered a scholarship program for students wishing to attend the summit. Winners of this competitive program include: Israel Gonzales, a senior in the accelerated baccalaureate nursing program at Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA; Melisa Paradis, a graduate student in nursing administration at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; Kirsten E. Williams, a sophomore in the traditional baccalaureate nursing program at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.

More information about the AACN Nursing Student Policy Summit, including a meeting agenda, is available online at http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Government/sps.htm.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year-college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. See http://www.aacn.nche.edu.

About the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence

Founded in February of 2006, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence (www.jonascenter.org) is supported by the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund. Its mission is to advance professional nursing through grant making and programs that improve nurse recruitment and retention, increase ethnic and racial diversity among the nursing workforce, advance innovative practice models and improve practice settings in New York City and beyond.