Mandi Roos is filling a dual role at Northern Michigan University this year as full-time LPN instructor and one of the first students in NMU's new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Adding graduate school to her teaching duties might have appeared overly ambitious, but Roos seems to be striking an effective balance, as evidenced by a recent achievement. She is one of 200 students nationwide selected to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.
The three-day summit in March will offer an immersive experience in the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. It includes Capitol Hill visits, issue briefings and presentations on related topics.
“It’s exciting because I’m a little green when it comes to health policy, but I realize how much it affects nursing, especially with all of the reforms in health care right now,” Roos said. “I want to learn more about the process of how things get done so I can be a better advocate as a nurse practitioner. This experience will also make me a better instructor. I’ll be a good role model for showing students they shouldn’t be afraid of policy and politics because they will be directly impacted. They can be at the forefront of it, helping to make decisions that benefit our field.”
One policy-related item Roos is following closely is Michigan’s Senate Bill 2, which is scheduled for a hearing later this month. Proponents say SB2 would “modernize” the state’s health care regulatory environment by differentiating between RNs and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists). APRNs would be able to practice to the full extent of their advanced education, national certification and competencies, resulting in increased access to quality and affordable healthcare services.
“The bill allows for more autonomy and full prescribing rights,” Roos said. “Nurse practitioners currently need to work under the direction of a primary care physician. But there are fewer primary care physicians because more medical school students are going into specialties to make better money. Yet with the Affordable Care Act, there’s more preventative care being done. Nurse practitioners are certified to diagnose illness, order necessary tests and prescribe medications. But they are hindered from performing those services under the current law. That’s why SB2 is important.”
Roos is an alumna of Northern’s LPN and BSN programs. Her selection to the AACN Student Policy Summit is described as a major accomplishment by Nanci Gasiewicz, director of the School of Nursing: “This is a really big honor and I believe it is the first time one of our graduate students has been selected to attend the summit. It is a competitive process where many apply and only a fraction of the applicants are selected.”
The summit also aligns with the preparation Roos will receive through her DNP studies. The program emphasizes preparing graduates for the development and implementation of health policy, in addition to providing/managing the most advanced level of nursing care and for the administration of nursing systems.