The education for becoming a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner is not limited to the obvious role of the ARNP. Last fall, I completed a health policy, economics, and politics course at UI. It was really great timing for the course, with the election process happening. And my education was enhanced at the APNA conference where the keynote presentations included information about policies related to the mental health field, and I met some ARNPs who have been very politically involved. When I entered the PMHNP program, I did not realize the importance of being active in understanding and participating in policy shaping and politics like I am coming to appreciate.
(Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines in August 2009)
The reason I bring up this topic is that I will be spending tomorrow in Des Moines with many of the nurse practitioners from across Iowa for a Legislative Day. I anticipate this will be a great opportunity to learn about current local & national legislative issues and about lobbying. In the afternoon, I will join Iowa ARNPs in meeting with legislators at the State Capitol building. Being from a family where politics were not discussed, I've got an awfully steep learning curve, and I am hopeful that the more I am exposed, the easier it will come!
I am curious to hear from you - how have you been politically active in nursing and mental health? What do you see as our role as psych/mental health nurses?