Graduate nursing student looking to make impact through policy & advocacy internship

Carly Baker

Carly Baker, a graduate nursing student and member of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences (Johnson Beth-El) Graduate Student Nursing Advisory Committee, accepted an American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) summer Policy & Advocacy Internship.

Carly Baker

“I certainly want to say thank you to UCCS for sending me to The AACN Policy Summit, this past spring. This was a month-long virtual policy summit,” said Baker. “I will have the opportunity during my internship to plan and prepare the next AACN policy summit, listen in on bills being introduced that effect nursing, write opinions, and explore grant writing,” continued Baker. 

The AACN and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is the accrediting body for roughly 80% of nursing schools and colleges nation-wide, including Johnson Beth-El. This past year, the UCCS nursing programs were due for review by a CCNE volunteer panel. Baker’s membership on the UCCS Graduate Student Nursing Advisory Committee allowed her the opportunity to participate in the panel’s review of the Johnson Beth-El nursing programs.

“I was very impressed with the panel members. The openness, professionalism, and genuine concern for the programs and future of nursing not only impressed me but excited me,” said Baker. “Seeing other women so passionate about not only their future and careers, but the future of nursing, really left a mark on me.”

The Johnson Beth-El nursing programs received the maximum, 10-year accreditation from CCNE.  

Inspired by discussions and learning experiences in Baker’s graduate course, Advanced Nursing Practice in Healthcare, Baker developed an interest in healthcare policy and advocacy.

“In this class we had several discussions on policy, the role of nursing in healthcare, and the future of nursing. These discussions prompted me to pursue what options I had in healthcare policy as a nurse,” said Baker.

Beginning July 6, 2021, Baker will virtually engage in AACN nursing policy meetings and learn about new healthcare legislation and the impacts it will have. Baker will also assist with the preparation for the annual AACN Policy Conference.

“I have been a staff nurse for ten years and although I can leave an impact on each individual in my care, I am limited to those specific interactions and unable to create lasting change. The only way to create lasting change is through policy,” said Baker.

Recently, Baker moved to Texas to be closer to family. Baker made her work around healthcare policy a priority after learning some Texas laws are preventing access to care for patients and providers.

Baker shared, “I disagree with laws that are being passed that prevent healthcare to certain individuals. Such as preventing providers from obtaining liability insurance if they are prescribing hormone therapy to transgender minors. I want to participate in positive change and that is what I plan to do.”

Baker was elected to the delegate position with The Texas Nurses Association for Harris County. Baker will meet with nurse delegates across Texas and visit the capitol twice a year to discuss policy that effects nursing and healthcare. 

“We need more nurses involved with healthcare policy. Nurses are the most trusted professionals, and yet we aren’t involved with decisions and policy that effect our profession and our patients. We are advocates at the bedside. We need to advocate in the political arena as well,” said Baker.