Nursing student visits Richmond with JMU delegation to meet with lawmakers

College of Health and Behavioral Studies
Nursing student Jason Fred at lobby day

In January, senior Nursing major Jason Fred attended a lobby day in Richmond with JMU Vice President of Student Affairs Tim Miller and members of the Student Government Association (SGA). The group attended to provide insight into the bills being presented. 

During the day, they talked with senators and representatives about bills that could benefit the healthcare field. As a nursing major, Fred had a personal interest in the bills that were being discussed. One bill that Fred lobbied for would extend nursing education programs in Virginia. 

Currently, once a student obtains a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, they must work in the field for two to three years before they can pursue graduate-level studies. This new bill would eliminate the requirement, and allow students with BSN degrees to go directly into post-graduate programs.

While at JMU, Fred has participated in ROTC. He said his time in the program has taught him lessons and skills such as confidence which he has been able to carry over into nursing.

“ROTC has challenged me,” Fred said. “Whenever I face difficulties in nursing, I remember all that I have overcome. This gives me the confidence to push through anything I come across.”

After graduation, Fred plans on working as an Army nurse for several years before considering other degrees. While he will be going straight into the workforce, he believes this bill is crucial to the nursing field.

“There’s an absolute need for those advanced practices programs,” Fred said. “In order to be a practitioner or a nurse you need to have those degrees. There are currently shortages in many specialties. Having this new option would be helpful in filling those positions.” 

Along with being a nursing student, Fred has an internship at the University of Virginia (UVA) where he visits the university once a week to work in the hospital on the acute cardiology floor. He also works at UVA full-time over breaks, where he shadows other nurses. He said he believes his field experience provided the background to be effective at lobby day.

Fred said he believes that opportunities like lobby day are important, because they allow students to speak up for issues that they feel passionate about. 

“Nursing and community health are multifaceted,” Fred said. “You can help patients through volunteering, working with the less fortunate, working a job in a hospital, and you can help people through lobbying for ideas.” 

Fred said he would encourage all students interested in health care to participate in civic engagement opportunities while they’re in school.  He said that SGA members were helpful in preparing him to talk with representatives and he’s grateful he had the chance to do so. 

“Other members helped me with how to communicate in these types of meetings and I helped them have an insight about nursing,” Fred said. “I would recommend to any student that wants to participate in something like this to go outside your comfort zone and don't be afraid to ask questions.” 

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Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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