Fairfield Students Attend Prestigious Nursing Summit in Washington, D.C.

Fairfield Students Attend Prestigious Nursing Summit in Washington, D.C.

Pictured (Left to right: Kathleen Morton, Christopher Pioli, Dean Meredith Kazer, Danielle Pittala, and Kristen FitzGerald.

Four nursing students had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit.

Every year, nursing students from all over the country gather in Washington, D.C. to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit. The annual three-day conference immerses students in educational program sessions that specifically focus on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. This past March, Fairfield University was represented by four nursing students, accompanied by Dean Meredith Kazer, PhD, APRN, FAAN and Visiting Professor of Nursing Kelly Sullivan, DNP, APRN.

Throughout the summit, Fairfield’s Doctor of Nursing Practice–Family Nurse Practitioner students Kristen FitzGerald ’19, Christopher Pioli ’19, and Danielle Pittala ’20, along with Egan School undergraduate student Kathleen Morton ’20, had opportunities to listen to speeches delivered by prominent nursing professionals, engage in a dialogue with policy leaders, and meet with staff members in Congress to advocate for certain policies, grants, and federal scholarships. With nearly 400 deans, directors, chairs, and students hailing from more than 45 different states, the conference provided ample networking opportunities. The summit allowed students to directly engage with fellow guest speakers, leaders in the policy area, and congressional staff members.

Said Kathleen Morton, a junior in the Egan School, “The trip most definitely provided professional development and networking opportunities. My conversations with the doctoral nursing students have inspired me to ultimately pursue an advanced degree in nursing after graduation, allowing me to have a greater role in improving patient health."

A highlight of the trip, known as Hill Day, offered the Fairfield students a unique opportunity to interact with staff members in Congress. They met with Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, as well as House of Representatives official Rosa L. DeLauro. Together, they advocated on behalf of nursing workforce development and research funding policies, and witnessed first-hand how research funding has positively impacted patient care. Pittala ’20 commented on the experience, “It was extremely empowering to be able to tell my story, and ask that certain funding stay in place for the overall benefit of nurses, future nurse practitioners, and our patients.”  

Reflecting on her experience, Morton said, “This life-changing experience centered around immersing myself in didactic sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and connect with so many renowned nursing leaders in the mission to better serve patients around the nation and world.”

Tags:  Top Stories,  Egan School

Last modified: 04-23-19 4:48 PM

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