Ep 45: Empowering Nurses in Electoral Politics

Nurses have all the right attributes to be successful in politics but there are so few in office around the country. We want to help change that by empowering nurses to feel confident and comfortable running for office. We’ll spend this episode discussing why it’s an important topic and we’ll learn more a new campaign school that Sharon Pearce and Kimberly Gordon are working to launch in 2020.

On This Episode:

Politics have taken over our country, especially heading into another presidential election, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why more nurses aren’t in office?

Think about the traits people in this profession possess: patience, compassion, negotiating, assertive, and collaborative. We could all benefit from public servants with this skillset but most nurses don’t even consider throwing their hat into the ring for local or national elections.

That’s why we wanted to bring this topic to the front and give it some attention. Not only is important for the profession to have more representation, but it’s a topic that Sharon has been working diligently on. Her and Kimberly Gordon, both Doctor of Nursing Practice Class of 2021 at Yale, are developing a campaign school to train nurses that aspire to hold office. It will be the first of its kind nationally and one that both women feel is overdue.

Both Sharon and Kimberly bring an extensive nursing background to this ambitious project and many people they’ve spoken with around the country are excited about the idea. Join us as we talk about the future of ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ and how it will empower nurses to take on politics.

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

[1:52] – Introducing our topic and our guest Kimberly Gordon.

[2:19] – Sharon talks about what her and Kimberly have done together in the past.

[3:45] – Why is this topic so important?

[4:57] – Only two nurses serve in office at the Federal level right now.

[5:21] – Why aren’t there more nurses in office?

[7:01] – North Carolina has three nurses in state legislature, including Gale Adcock.

[8:10] – Who are the two nurses on the national level?

[8:52] – Neither of those are advanced practice nurses, which we’ve never had at the Federal level.

[10:01] – Let’s talk about the breaking down barriers project Sharon and Kimberly are working on at Yale.

[12:37] – We’ve met nurses from all over the country and they feel like this is very important.

[13:40] – We as nurses are really late to this game. Physicians have been training people for politics since the 70s.

[14:34] – Is it intimidating for nurses to consider running for office?

[15:35] – Occupation-specific schools have become popular for a reason.

[16:29] – A huge barrier is we don’t like to ask for money or help and that’s an issue.                                                                                                                   

[18:41] – We’re not asking people to run for governor. We want to build a pipeline that starts in county commissions, school board, places like that.

[19:32] – Maybe one day we’ll have a nurse as president.

[19:55] – What kind of timeline are we talking about for this project?

[20:34] – Yale has provided so much acceptance and assistance through this process.

[21:39] – “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

[22:51] – Applications open on January 1, 2020.


“We have talked with nursing leaders all across the nation and the one thing that they all have in common is that they believe this is important, it needs to be done. It should have been done a long time ago. More often than not, they’re like, ‘I want to attend. I’ve thought about running for office and I want to come. I want to learn. I want to finally do this.”

-Kimberly Gordon

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