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Our Nurse of the Week is Kelsey Mumford, a senior nursing student at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin who wants to help Texas become a healthier state. Growing up in the Austin area, Mumford experienced the impact that a top-tier research university can have on a community. After seeing the work UT was doing, it became the only school she applied to, and now she’s helping advocate for better health policies as a nursing student. 

Mumford started at UT Austin as a freshman with a double major in nursing honors and biology. Outside the classroom, she was involved as a Forty Acres Scholar, the School of Nursing representative in Student Government, a Texas Coed cheerleader, and the Health Policy Committee chair of the UT Nursing Students Association. 

During her sophomore year, the dean of the nursing school sent Mumford to a student policy summit in Washington, DC, which was designed to immerse student nurses in the federal policy process. At the summit, she had the opportunity to apply for a small grant to take what she learned back to UT. Mumford won and designed a three-month campaign to get other students excited about advocating for better health in the Austin community. 

As part of the campaign, Mumford organized 70 students who advocated to pass a bill in the Texas Legislature. It was a small policy change in the driver’s license application—instead of checking a box to opt in to being an organ donor in Texas, you would instead have the option to opt out.

Mumford tells, “It was a very small thing, but it could have a large impact on the bigger system. It’s an example of how a health policy on a specific issue can have a chain reaction. Health policy is not just big national bills. These state and local bills are really important.”

Mumford chose nursing school because she has always wanted to help people, and now she sees a future for how to do that on a larger scale. During her junior year, she was awarded the Nurse in Washington Internship and was subsequently able to meet the Texas legislative staffers to discuss issues such as the opioid crisis. The goal of one bill discussed was to provide advanced practice registered nurses with greater ability to prescribe naloxone and other opioid addiction treatments. 

Mumford says, “I’m really interested in preventative policies. How can we prevent people from getting sick in the first place? I want to know in the future that I’ve helped Texas become a healthier state.”

Now in her senior year, Mumford serves on the Board of Directors of the National Student Nurses Association, is the founder of the Health Advocacy Student Coalition, and is the program coordinator for the Dell Medical School Health Leadership Apprentice Program. After graduating in May, Mumford plans to attend graduate school and continue health advocacy in her career. 

To learn more about Kelsey Mumford, a senior nursing student at UT Austin who wants to help Texas become a healthier state, visit here

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