A group of senior nursing majors and faculty from Oklahoma Baptist University visited the Oklahoma state capitol and met with state legislators during a day-long event hosted by Oklahoma Nurses Association. The ONA “Nurses Day at the Capitol” took place Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The mission of the ONA is to empower nurses to improve health care in all specialties and practice settings by working as a community of professional nurses. Founded in 1908, the purpose of the ONA is to preserve and advance the identity, integrity and continuity of the nursing profession. ONA serves as a professional organization and voice for registered nurses across the state.
Those who participated in the event attended seminars; took a group photo with Oklahoma Senator Ron Sharp, District 17, and Oklahoma Representative Dell Kerbs, District 26; personally interacted with legislators; and went on a group tour of the capitol.
Dr. Lepaine McHenry, dean of the OBU College of Nursing, reflected on the impact of the capitol visit on her students.
“Nurses Day at the Capitol is a wonderful opportunity for our nursing students to experience advocacy and the legislative process first hand,” she said. “As patient advocates, we place the patient first, but we also must advocate for policies that advance nursing education, research, and practice which impacts patients every day.”
“Our students were able to see the legislative process unfold, be exposed to the lobbying process, meet their legislators, and gain a vision for health policy and advocacy,” she said. “Shaping our students to make a positive impact on our world is essential. As a Christian liberal arts university, OBU transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ. This is promoted through faith integration in coursework, student nurses’ association, faculty mentoring, and events list this. Our goal is to begin developing their sense of ownership in this area as future professional nurses.”
McHenry attended the event along with Assistant Professors of Nursing Shaelene Alexander-Fipps and Jennifer Sharma. Twenty eight senior OBU nursing students attended the event, including Mackensy Brock, Bridget Burton, Hannah Christian, Rachel Detweiler, Miranda Dozier, Ashley Eubanks, Hannah Evans, Christine Ferguson, Bailey Garrett, Christin Garvey, Kyra Gilbert, Cory Grant, Kirsty Green, Kelsey Hays, Jennifer Holdridge, Lexie Lanphear, Maci Lewis, Catherine Lingo, Kierra Mattingly, Jennifer McMartin, Morgan Minx, Kristi Neighbors, Macy Palmer, Gracie Perkins, Brittney Roberts, Tucker Schultz, Katie Stiles and Jade Young.