September 18, 2008 | | Comments 3
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Legislative lessons from school

Many of you have been following my intermittent posts on my journey, at the age of 54, to pursue my MSN degree. In just a few weeks, I will have completed course No. 4 on healthcare delivery systems. One of our assignments was to interview a person in a legislative position and discuss the many facets of his or her role as it relates to how healthcare is delivered to his or her constituents. The legislator I selected happened to also be a family practice doctor. I just couldn’t resist. Oh sure, I could have picked a female legislator, or one whose name has been in a headline more often than deserved, but not me. I went straight for the jugular-a doctor who is my state rep, which brought me to an interview that was more of one as a constituent that that of a master’s level student.

The interview was a grand opportunity to better understand not only how the state process works, but how and why many decisions are made regarding healthcare bills. In the state of Tennessee, our legislature had been handed a bill that would make it optional for adults to wear helmets on motorcycles. Being an ED nurse, I am sure you can guess what my vote would have been on this! This motorcycle-riding physician, father, and state legislature felt otherwise. He strongly felt his job was to represent all of his constituents who wanted the helmet option. We agreed to disagree on this issue and I left the interview feeling our county/district was in good hands.

As we look to the last quarter of this year, by the end of December, I will be halfway through the program. I feel like my brain is packed with so much information, I will have to upload more GB to store any new lessons for 2009!

Are you still wrestling with whether or not you should go back to school? Are you having an argument with yourself over what to specialize in?

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Shelley Cohen About the Author: Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN, is the owner of Health Resources Unlimited, a company she founded in 1997 to meet the ongoing professional development needs of nurse managers and emergency department nurses. With a passion for dealing with the realities of the challenges in healthcare delivery, she embraces a direct and humorous approach to problem solving, her consulting work, and training programs. As an author and national speaker, she brings more than 30 years of nursing experience to a platform that is relevant and timely. Her ability to maintain a current perspective of nursing issues is accomplished through her role as a prn staff nurse. As an advocate for children in foster care, Shelley and her husband, Dennis, operate a non-profit organization, DoubleCreek, at their home in Tennessee.

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  1. Hi ,
    I am not so much struggling to decide wether I am going to grad school or not . I know I have to, want to and that is something I really really need to do. Just applied about a month ago and am expieriencing the jitters wether I am admitted or not.
    I am hoping it will be a yes. I looked at the blog entries and saw that you have mentioned one of the reasons you are going back is becouse of the need for nursing faculty.I have applied to obtain a MSN in nursing education as well. the program I am applying to has a mixed on line and classroom courses. My expierience has been very positive with the on line classes format. Good luck to you with being almost half way done!
    Gosia

  2. Shelley Cohen

    Hello Gosia and thanks for your post on the blog! I am thinking
    positive thoughts for your admission into school. I would have
    preferred to do the blend of online and live classes, however my
    air travel put a stop to that idea.

    I am thrilled to hear that you are focusing on education for
    your MSN. Do you have a particular type or level of education
    you are interested in once you complete your schooling?

    In addition, others on the blog can benefit from your sharing
    what attracted you to the program you did apply to. As I am sure
    you realized going through this process, the school selection
    alone was enough to pop open the advil!

    You will be amazed at the speed the courses progress, even
    when just starting out. Keep all of us updated on how things go
    along and once you are accepted, do something good for you.

    My other advice would be if you have not had a recent eye
    exam, go get one! There is an abundance of reading involved in
    graduate school and your eyes will need all the help they
    can get!

  3. Bonnie Clair

    Hi Gosia!
    I am almost finished with my MSN…only 12 weeks to go. WOO HOO!
    I did mine completely online; it is extremely challenging but I feel will be worth it in the end. The most challenging part, for me, are the team assignments. I don’t believe I’ve had one team experience yet in which everyone on the team had the same level of “commitment” to an excellent project as I had. At the same time, I have “met” several very intelligent and professional nurses who I’ve been honored to work alongside.
    I wish you well!
    Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions; I’m happy to share my experiences.
    Bonnie
    Bonnie.Clair@coxhealth.com

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