Program Innovators
  • It’s True: You Might Lose…but You’ll Probably Win!

    To illustrate this point, let’s meet Bethany Hall-Long, RN, PhD. Long is Delaware’s Lieutenant Governor and, you may have already guessed, she’s the first nurse in the U.S. to hold that office. She was elected by her peers and in July 2020 became the Chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. Is it her dynamic personality and superior political acumen that earned her the respect (and votes) of her peers? Sure. But if you ask Long, she’ll tell you it is because she is a nurse.

    She didn’t start her political career as Lt. Governor. Like many of us, the idea of becoming involved in politics never entered Bethany’s mind. While taking a (required) policy course at the Medical University of South Carolina during her graduate studies, she was late to class. In her absence, she was volunteered to present the topic no one else wanted to. When she arrived, to her surprise, “Policy and Politics” was written on the board with her name beside it. Her first thought was, “Oh, no!” and then, “Why would nurses want to be involved in politics?”.

    The assignment changed her life.

    At the time, Bethany was a home health nurse, a wife, and a mother. Experience taught her that her clinical nursing expertise translated into improving the health of her patients. The assignment taught her that opportunities to improve the health of all citizens arise by being at the table formulating policy or by serving in elected office. She was shocked to learn how few nurses were served. Bethany quit being a spectator and jumped into the arena.

    In January 2000 she ran for the Delaware House of Representatives against a popular incumbent and lost – by a 1% margin! Not one to accept defeat, she ran again in 2002 and won. Bethany is the first to encourage nurse candidates not to give up if defeated in an initial run.

    She knows what she is talking about.

    Long served in the Delaware State House for three terms (2002-2008) and the Delaware State Senate for four terms (2008-2016). In 2016, she was elected Lt. Governor and was handily re-elected in 2020. Fortunate for us, Bethany has written extensively about her experiences campaigning for and serving in elected office.

    Long says, “Nurses are educated for the political journey.”

    Will you take that journey?

    Learn more about Bethany Hall-Long’s political journey in this podcast.