Program Innovators
  • You Already Possess the Skills Required of Elected Officials

    Sure, nurses bring health care expertise and an intimate knowledge of the health care system to a legislative body, but we are not “one-trick ponies”. Nurses have many other skills that translate directly to elected office. In fact, the nursing process (yes, that nursing process) mirrors the political process: assess, plan, implement, and evaluate.

    Ask any sitting nurse legislator and they will tell you that there are numerous nursing-specific skills that they brought with them to elected office. In fact, many nurse legislators cite nursing as the best preparation for politics. Why? Nurses continually solve complex problems within a complicated health care system.

    Think about what you do every day.

    Nurses are Good Listeners

    To solve a problem, one must understand the problem. Nurse legislators frequently list their listening skills as the biggest asset to their life as a politician.

    Nurses are Expert Communicators

    Nurses are trained in therapeutic communication. This skill is necessary in health care and valuable in the political arena when working with fellow legislators and constituents.

    Nurses are Translators

    Nurses use their expert communication skills to be effective “translators”.  In our clinical role, we translate data, jargon, and complex health issues into easily understandable concepts to help patients and families make informed decisions about their health. This same skill is useful in politics where legislators are required to translate technical terms and specialized information into useful public policy.

    Nurses are Collaborators and Negotiators

    Nurses are the coordinators of patient care and work within teams of people with various skills, backgrounds, personalities. As such, we are natural collaborators and negotiators. Politicians must manage and prioritize competing interests and navigate differing political ideologies to develop the best public policy for their constituents and communities. 

    Nurses are Conflict Managers

    Nurses are at the bedside 24/7, we help patients and families navigate some of life’s most challenging moments. Nurses facilitate difficult conversations and find workable solutions in times of conflict. Local, state, and federal governments can function better with more nurse legislators in office.

    Nurses are Eyewitnesses

    Nurses are frontline healthcare providers; they see their communities through their patient’s eyes – what works and what doesn’t. Virginia Trotter Betts is a former American Nurses Association (ANA) president who has served in national health policy roles. Betts knows that nurses bring a unique clinical and community perspective to politics, one that can be crucial to shaping better policies.


    In this time of hyper-partisanship and political polarization, 7 in 10 Americans believe that a divided Washington will continue to bicker and not find common ground. Voters continually list health care as one of their most important issues and the 2020 election is no different. Nurses synthesize data to make decisions, build and lead teams, are resourceful, think quickly on their feet, function well in high pressure situations, and have first-hand knowledge of health care.

    Most importantly, nurses possess one thing politicians don’t: trust.

    Listen to Kimberly and Sharon in this podcast as they talk about why you have the “right stuff” to be involved in politics.

    YOU already have the skills to serve in elected office! Will you use them?