Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of the Foundation’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research, and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other essential nursing issues. Following are some of the stories in the February issue.

Preparing Nurses for Leadership in Public Policy

Many nurse education programs, including those that confer doctoral degrees, fall short in educating nurses about public policy, leaving them unprepared to maximize their expertise in policy arenas. To help change that, the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico hosted a recent conference that brought together leading nurse educators, public policy experts, social scientists, and others. The goal was to identify and share effective ways to prepare students in doctoral (PhD and DNP) nursing programs to be health policy leaders. Talking to lawmakers is “high-stakes communication,” one speaker said, and nurses need to know how to do it.

Nurse Leader Urges Nurses to Study Political Science, Too

Nancy Ridenour, PhD, APRN, FAAN, has combined a lifelong passion for policy with a drive to improve public health. Throughout her career, she has fought state laws that prevented Nurse Practitioners from practicing to the top of their education and training, and spoken out on health policies affecting access to care for patients in rural communities. “Policy is a tool to foster social change. Leadership and expertise in health policy ensure that nursing expertise is used to improve the health of the nation,” Ridenour says.

TX Nurses Celebrate Accomplishments, Plan for Future 

The Texas state Action Coalition, called the “Texas Team,” held a day-long meeting in Dallas on February 12 to evaluate progress, identify priorities for action, allow regional teams to learn from one another, and celebrate nurses. The meeting was capped off by a gala, the “The Promise of Nursing for Texas,” hosted by Johnson & Johnson. It featured the premiere of “Lifeline,” a documentary about the vital role nurses play in improving health. The two events raised $372,000 for the Texas Team, which will be used for grants to support the work of regional teams in the state, and for student and faculty scholarships.

Bringing Nurse Making to the Forefront of Health Care

Across the country, nurses with a Do It Yourself mindset are using their creativity to customize or make new devices that improve patient care. Turning to the supply closet, taking apart wound care kits, and even using Legos, these nurses are applying their “maker” mentality to solve problems encountered on the ward. MakerNurse, an initiative from the Little Devices Lab at MIT and supported by RWJF, is examining nurse innovation to identify tools and prototyping strategies that could help more nurses bring their ideas for improving health care to fruition. MakerNurse also seeks to build a community in which nurses can share their ideas and be recognized for their skills.