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BYU FNP Students Recognized on the Utah House Floor

On Friday, January 26th, BYU College of Nursing faculty members, Professors Beth Luthy and Christine Platt took nine students from the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program to the Utah House of Representatives in Salt Lake City. Each of them sat on the floor as guests of their representatives while multiple controversial bills were being discussed.

As part of the FNP program, students visit the House each year during the legislative session as part of a course on Health Care Policy and Finance. Prior to their visit, students research upcoming health bills, learn more about their representative, and schedule a time to be on the floor with them. This time, it worked out that each participant was a constituent of a different representative. This allowed all nine students, as well as Professors Luthy and Platt to be on the House floor together. FNP student, Emily Santillan, reflected on her experience: “For me, the most significant takeaway was how eager our legislators are to involve their constituents in their work. They were thrilled to have us there, and my Representative was delighted to have a constituent with him.”

District 39 Representative Jim Dunnigan, who has been an advocate for Utah’s nurse practitioners, requested a moment of personal privilege to welcome the students and announce their presence on the floor at the beginning of the session. Other Representatives asked students their opinions on health-related bills. Platt said of their visit, “They were all prepared. It was wonderful and very special.” After their time on the House floor, students wrote their representatives to thank them and offer further insight on upcoming health bills.

Nathan Smart was another FNP student in attendance. He commented, “I have been to the Capitol before as an undergrad, but this experience was much more immersive and I felt for the first time as though I could have a real impact as a representative constituent, not only as an upcoming provider, but also for future patients I serve by supporting legislation that can impact them and the community as a whole.” Smart continued, “Seeing working representatives make decisions for members in their districts sparked a desire in me to possibly do the same, should I have the opportunity to do so, in the future as a representative.” 

The BYU College of Nursing is proud to offer the FNP program and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2025. U.S. News ranked Nurse Practitioner as #1 on their list of 100 Best Jobs of 2024 due to projected growth in the field over the next few years, job security, a comfortable salary, and the opportunity to make a difference. Learn more about BYU’s unique FNP program.