A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to join 20 other nurses and Governor Tim Kaine for a lively roundtable discussion hosted by Nurses for Kaine to talk about different strategies we can use to provide accessible, affordable, quality health care.
Governor Kaine started the conversation by talking briefly about his overall priorities if elected to the Senate, and then opened up the discussion to everyone so he could hear our concerns and ideas.
Nursing workforce development and increasing access to care are important challenges for the nursing community. We talked about the needs to increase the number of nurses and nursing faculty to address the growing nationwide nursing shortage.
Governor Kaine listened intently as we told our personal stories and described how critical it was for our country to have more nurses and how advanced practice nurses can increase access to care for more effective health care delivery and preventive care.
He asked us questions and was actively engaged in the conversation. It was clear to us that he not only wanted to hear about the concerns we brought up, but he also really valued our input on potential solutions.
Governor Kaine responded with detail and substance and impressed us with how much he knew about our field. He talked about his long record of working to address the nursing shortage head on here in Virginia -- including his successful efforts expand our capacity to educate new nurses and health care professionals in the Commonwealth. In addition, Tim Kaine appointed two nurses to key positions in his administration as governor and increased nurse faculty salaries by 10% in an effort to address the nurse faculty shortage.
During his term, he also made important progress in public health -- making significant reforms to the state’s mental health care system and working to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and state buildings.
We were so happy to have the chance to sit down with Governor Kaine in such an informal setting. It just reinforced what nurses already know: that he is a strong, effective partner for the nursing community and remains committed to tackling challenges in health care, jobs, and the economy.
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