Twenty of the College’s Nursing Leadership students put aside their textbooks for a day and channeled their energy and commitment to their profession as lobbyists, participating in the New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA) Lobby Day in Albany. Anyone who is a nurse or has come in contact with this profession knows that advocacy is at the core of nursing practice so it is no surprise that the 2,200 nurses who gathered in Albany were a powerful and strong presence in the halls of state government.

“Nurses represent the profession by being the largest health care force to affect patient outcomes. They are with patients 24/7 providing direct care, advocating, and coordinating. Who better to be in Albany affecting law?” said Professor Marie Giordano, MS, RN, and Assistant Professor of Nursing at the College of Staten Island.

The CSI Leadership students in attendance (the first time the College’s Nursing Department participated in this Lobby Day) are Registered Nurses (RNs) who are earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees to prepare them to lead and manage in their many positions as nurses. The lobbying effort organized by the NYS NA focused on bills addressing nurse-to-patient ratios, safe patient handling, violence against nurses, and mandatory baccalaureate education for RNs.

After the CSI nursing students “warmed up” their natural lobbying skills by participating in a presentation by members of NYSNA focusing on the “DOs and DON’Ts of lobbying” and some role playing, the group visited local legislators from Staten Island and Brooklyn, including Lou Tobacco, Matthew Titone, and Diane Savino.

“By participating in this Lobby Day, we were able to see how important it is to be at the table when decisions are being made about policy. Debriefing on the bus ride home reinforced what we experienced that day. It was a powerful and important experience for our students,” said Professor Giordano.

Special thanks go to the Student Government of CSI for helping to defray the cost of the travel expenses to Albany.