FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – Nurses and nursing students from across Kentucky gathered in Frankfort to not only celebrate the work that’s being done but to also bring attention to some hurdles they’re looking to face.

More than 150 healthcare workers showed out to the Kentucky Nurses Association 2023 Nurses Day at the Capitol. It’s a day dedicated to networking, building relationships, and highlighting legislative priorities.

These include workplace safety and violence prevention, decriminalization of nurses, and the nursing shortage. Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky, Rosalie Mainous, said the next generation of nurses will be the key to solving these problems, and the future is bright for the healthcare field.

“It’s heartwarming to see students at a variety of levels who are here. They’re engaged, they want to meet their representatives and they let in the various legislators,” Mainous said.

The room was also filled with nursing students eager to learn more. Students said they learned a lot not only about their fields of study but also about why it’s so crucial to keep advocating for positive change.

“Basically, just the impact that nurses have on everybody, regardless of your bedside nurse or if you’re in legislation, whatever your job or role may be. The impact of nurses goes far beyond just bedside nursing of nursing,” said University of Kentucky student Annie Cross.

“You can be a bedside nurse. You can get your Ph.D., you can be a practitioner a school nurse, work at a university, do research. So that’s what makes it enjoyable for me, is that I can always I can tailor my education to my own interests,” added University of Kentucky student Louis Baser.

The students said they’re thankful to those who made a full-scale event like this possible, and the work of the Kentucky Nurses Association is inspiring them to be the best nurses they can be.

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These students said nothing is more rewarding than serving their communities.

“It builds so many relationships with everyone across the state of Kentucky. There are so many nursing students here. There are so many instructors, faculty, staff, legislators that are here. And just they have the opportunity to have to build these relationships and get to know these people on a personal level is just tremendously a blessing,” Cross said.

“There’s so many different areas of nursing. And as long as you’re passionate about it, your patients or the populations that you work with are going to see that passion, and that’s what’s going to make it enjoyable,” Baser added.

More information on the Kentucky Nurses Association can be found here:

Kentucky Nurses Association | Nursing Network