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Pillars of nursing: Mason advances nursing perspectives on policy, emphasizes relationship to patient care


Diana Mason, RN, PhD, FAAN, is a Rudin professor at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing at Hunter College, Manhattan, and co-founder and co-director of the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, a center that advances public conversations about health and health policy through media, research, education and public forums.

As part of their work for the past 25 years, Mason and Barbara Glickstein, RN, MPH, MS, produce and moderate Healthstyles, a live radio program on WBAI that Mason sees as a great opportunity to showcase what nurses do.

“As nurses, it is important that we hone and deliver our messages effectively, whether it be with one patient and [his or her]family, at a faculty or board of trustee meeting, blogging or on camera,” said Mason, who mentors RNs through the center’s website,

Mason is currently president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing, where she served as secretary for four years. Along with the “Raise the Voice” campaign, whose mission is to transform healthcare in the U.S. through nursing solutions, Mason said she hopes to continue to advance nursing perspectives on health policy and serve the public through the work of the academy.

Describing her career as one that has been incredibly rich with nursing experiences, Mason is quick to credit the nurses who have influenced her life. “People like Patricia Diehl, Kristine Gebbie, Anita Golden Pepper and Edna Dell Weinell are ones I will always remember — who showed me the way, opened doors for me and mentored me both personally and professionally,” Mason said.

Her experience includes a role as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing for more than 10 years. Under her leadership, the publication was selected by the Special Libraries Association as one of the 100 most influential journals of the century in biology and medicine, the only nursing journal to receive this honor. Mason also published the book “Policy & Politics in Nursing and Healthcare,” now in its sixth edition, with Judith K. Leavitt, RN, MEd, FAAN, and Mary W. Chafee, RN, PhD, FAAN.

Mason credits her active involvement in the New York State Nurses Assocation and its political action group as the place where she received excellent peer mentoring and initially learned about the key role of politics in nursing and healthcare. Her early service in the local district nurses’ assocation as legislative commmittee chairperson, and then as president, provided what she called rich training ground, and was where she learned about public policy and its direct effect on patient care.

While teaching at Hunter College, Mason said, she maintained a private practice for about eight years that opened her eyes to the impact of public policy on daily practice.

“We cannot lose sight of the relationship between the delivery of nursing care and public policy,” she said. “When nurses get involved in their local and state nurses’ associations, they can be leaders in shaping healthcare policy in their communities and in our country, and as a result, they make a difference in our patients’ care,” Mason said.

Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is a regional nurse executive.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In recognition of the 25th anniversary of (Nursing Spectrum), the magazine will celebrate 25 key members of the New York/New Jersey nursing community in 2013.


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