Ep 226: The Need for More State Nurse Legislators


Check out the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

We talk all the time about the lack of nurse representation in policy-making positions, but that doesn’t make the data any less surprising. Today we’ll have a great discussion with Darlene Curley, EdD, RN, FAAN, about a study she recently completed on state nurse legislators. She’ll share some of the details with us in this episode and we’ll also have a wide-ranging discussion on how CRNAs and other nurses can continue increasing their involvement.  

We’ve wanted to talk with Darlene for a while and we’re grateful to finally have that opportunity because few people have the insight into policy-making that she does. Darlene served two terms in the state legislature before running for Congress.

When she started in the legislature, she knew there were other nurses in legislatures around the country but she had no idea who they were, where they were, and what policies they were trying to advance. So in 2022, she completed an audit to find this information, and the results were pretty eye-opening, including the fact that there were 76 nurse legislatures serving in 36 states, which means 14 states didn’t have any nursing representatives. And this included states like Florida and California.

Join us as we learn all about the study, what she’s learned, and why we still have such a strong need for more state nurse legislators.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn on this show:

  • How she took an interest in community engagement and volunteering to a policy level.  [5:17]
  • Would the pandemic have looked different if more nurses would have been in more leadership positions? [12:21]
  • Background on the study and what she found. [18:08]
  • Why she thinks the trend is going  [24:14]
  • How can each of us support the nurses in these leadership positions. [26:09]
  • How does a policy-maker decide about an issue without a background on that issue? [30:36]
  • What are we losing by not having nurses representing us in all 50 states? [45:21]


Read the State Nurse Legislature study: https://www.nursingworld.org/~4a6c69/globalassets/practiceandpolicy/advocacy/state/9.12.22-status-report–nurse-state-legislators-2020-22.pdf 

Check out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

You have such a strong feeling about service and public service to your community and to improving healthcare that it carries you through the political part. And the political component is really the engine that moves policy. For nurses or anyone running for office, the policy is very important but you must be interested in the political piece.

Darlene Curley, EdD, RN, FAAN





Current Events

Dysphoria: Current Understanding & Recommendations to Prevent Post-Op Cognitive Decline

Today we’re exploring a topic that goes deeper into the realms of medicine and neuroscience, and it’s something that affects us all: cognitive health post-surgery. Adam Flowe, Chief CRNA at Duke University Hospital, brings his 20 years of experience and a personal connection to the table, discussing the intricate relationship between anesthesia, surgical stress, and the brain. With the aging population and the rise in surgeries, the question of how these procedures affect our cognitive function is more pressing than ever.

CRNA Careers

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Discover the Unique Bond of a Mother-Daughter CRNA Team

In this heartfelt episode of Beyond The Mask, a story of unique dynamics when working alongside family in the world of anesthesia comes to life. Jeremy and Sharon sit down with a remarkable mother-daughter duo, Melody Secrest and Emily King, both CRNAs, who share their experiences working in the same hospital department. We uncover the challenges and triumphs that come with balancing professional boundaries and personal relationships in the operating room.


Ventilating the Future: CRNAs at the Forefront of Lung Protective Strategies

In this episode, hosts Terry and Garry take listeners on a journey through the evolution of anesthesia, reflecting on the remarkable changes witnessed since their early days in the field. From manual adjustments of OR beds to sophisticated ventilator technologies, they explore the transformative advancements that have revolutionized patient care.




Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadio



J. Cross CRNA
Read More
This podcast is very well put together. I love the hosts Sharon & Jeremy, they do a fantastic job at presenting topics as well as getting great speakers on the show! This is my morning commute podcast everyday! Thank you for all that you do!
Read More
I enjoy listening every morning. Great content and always a pleasure to learn something new.
Read More
I started listening to this podcast religiously early on in my CRNA journey, a year before applying to CRNA school. The content in this podcast was one of my most helpful resources for getting into my first choice school, Wake Forest! It has also been a huge motivator for getting involved with the AANA now and throughout my career. I highly recommend this podcast to every prospective CRNA I meet.
Read More
I appreciate hearing the latest and greatest in the world of Nurse Anesthesiology while also getting Class B credits. Just listen on your commute for a win/win experience. I love the perspectives from Jeremy and Sharon who both ask varied and insightful questions!
Read More
If you’re a CRNA or any medical professional, I highly recommend giving this podcast a listen. Hosts have a great rapport.