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WITC Student Nurses Attend Nurses Day at the Capitol

Student nurses from WITC gather on the Wisconsin State Capitol steps during a recent trip to Madison to attend the annual Nurses Day at the Capitol event. Front, from left: Ashley Anderson; Christine Oberle (WITC nursing instructor); Bonnie Howe (WITC nursing instructor); middle, from left: Rachel Zimmer; Rachel Warner; Penny Smith-Edling; Mary Roush, Shanon Carufel; Kathryn Wingate-Sykes; Cindy Stolp. Back row, from left: Melanie Richert; Nancy Nelson; Jacob Luedtke; Kari Clark; Christine Goulet; Lori Miller; Dody Brihn; Jan Schone; Kat Shilts.

Seventeen student nurses from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-New Richmond and their advisors traveled to Madison on a 30-hour whirlwind trip to the capitol. They attended Nurses Day at the Capitol, an annual March event sponsored by the Wisconsin Nurses’ Association, designed to bring greater awareness to the political power that exists in nursing.

Bonnie Howe, WITC nursing instructor and student advisor, says she has strong feelings that associate degree nurses need to be well grounded in the role of RNs, especially two-year RNs. The trip “helps broaden their views and the responsibility of nursing,” Howe says.

Howe explains that the trip is considered a clinical class for WITC’s fourth semester graduating students, and they are expected to attend. The group did receive some financial assistance from the national student nurses’ association for the cost of the coach bus.

The group packed a lot of activity into the trip. They heard keynote speakers from the National American Nurses Association speak on this year’s theme of healthcare reform. The underlying message was that nursing has big role in helping mold the future of healthcare.

The WITC students also heard from state and national speakers, and had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Kitty Rhoades, Ann Hraychuck, John Murtha, and a member of Sheila Harsdorf’s staff.

“Our nursing students were pleased to learn how very approachable our legislators are and how interested they were to hear what students have to say,” Howe says.“It's always a very positive trip (to Madison). The legislator staffers are excellent in scheduling meetings and this time we also had a quick tour of the capitol. It was an excellent experience.”