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My Turn: Looking for health policy leadership? Choose a nurse

Gov. Chris Sununu is facing many challenges, with a surging pandemic and its economic devastation at the top of the list.

The arduous process of choosing hundreds of appointees to staff state agencies to manage these crises is on-going. As president of the New Hampshire Association of Nurse Anesthesiology I would entreat Gov. Sununu to consider appointing nurses to move our state forward and help keep our residents safe.

This year has cast a light on the value of the nursing profession as never before. Nurses – particularly Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) – walked resolutely into danger to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among one of the nation’s most trusted professions for 19 years running, according to Gallop, CRNAs continue to serve as frontline soldiers battling this unprecedented public health crisis. Despite shortages of equipment and staff, nurses are innovating and finding the best way to manage the sickest patients. As they often are throughout their careers, during the pandemic nurses are called upon to be a lifeline to patients and families at the worst time of their lives. Too often, they are there to care for and comfort patients at the end of their lives.

Amid heartbreak, personal sacrifice, and health risks to themselves and their families, nurses continue to bring knowledge and perspective to this ongoing pandemic that few others can claim. Nurses know what works and what doesn’t. They’ve been there and done that, and they can offer solutions to the seemingly intractable public health and societal problems America faces.

Listen to them. Hear them. Bring them into the decision-making process.

America’s nurses offer invaluable insight and experience in issues throughout the health care spectrum, and our governmental institutions need every bit of their expertise.


Nurses practice in every conceivable setting, caring for every patient population, throughout our health care system. They are caregivers, decision makers, innovators, educators, researchers, counselors, administrators, and business owners.

Nurses see firsthand the results of racism and inequality, poverty, violence, substance abuse, unequal education, and inadequate mental health care. When it comes to tackling these issues, nurses bring intimate knowledge and problem-solving experience, as well as the will and dedication to serve their country and fellow citizens.

I ask Gov. Sununu why not look among the backbone of America’s health care system? Why not choose members of America’s most trusted profession? If you are looking for America’s best and brightest to serve at your side, choose a nurse.