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If you’re a nurse considering a career in politics but haven’t seen any nurses in government yet, then meet Beth Haney, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FAAN.

Haney is a councilwoman of Yorba Linda, California, and previously served as mayor in 2020. She’s also the Vice-Chair of the Placentia-Linda Hospital Governing Board and director of the Board of Financial Partners Credit Union. She also runs her own business, Luxe Aesthetic Center, in Yorba Linda, founded in 2006 on the principles of integrity and excellence.

Haney talked to us about why she decided to move into politics, how her skills as a nurse practitioner helped her stand out as a councilwoman, and what she’s experienced as a local government leader so far.

nurses-in-politics-meet-beth-haney-np-and-councilwoman-of-yorba-linda 

Beth Haney, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FAAN is a nurse practitioner and a councilwoman of Yorba Linda, California.

When did you decide to become involved in local government? What was your motivation to start this journey?

I became involved in my 20s and have always been interested in government and politics. I eventually ran for office in 2016 because I wanted to elevate the voice of the nurse practitioner beyond our profession and get our message to a broader audience in the public realm. I won my seat on the first attempt with no formal political training and unseated an incumbent.

Can you tell me more about your experience as a family nurse practitioner? What made you passionate about the career?

While in my undergraduate program at Loma Linda University, my favorite professor encouraged me to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. She told me how wonderful the profession was, so I followed her advice. I am happy I did. Once I graduated and became involved in my professional national and state organizations, I knew I made the right choice. I saw the fantastic work NPs do and wanted to be a part of this.

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How does your experience in healthcare influence your roles in advocacy, policy, and education?

I have learned over my career that the education we receive as NPs blends well with politics, and I have had several articles published on this topic. NPs have critical thinking skills, use evidence and data to make decisions (something many career politicians might not use), practice compassionate care models, and have the best interests of others at heart. These attributes give me the skills to make decisions effectively and build consensus among my peers to accomplish goals while considering the impacts on the public.

What have you achieved in your years as city council and mayor of Yorba Linda for the city’s healthcare and growth?

I was mayor during the pandemic and was held to a very high standard since I was in health care. This was a tremendous responsibility, and I loved the work. I was assigned to a countywide task force to help with communications about the infection. All 34 mayors in Orange County bonded to work on this issue, which had never been done before. The residents looked to me for answers, and I was proud to have research and evidence back my views.

I was also a founding member and co-chair of the California Mayor’s Coalition, where I worked with leaders all over the state on C-19 issues, especially funding for our cities and businesses.

On a brighter note, while I was mayor, we opened our gorgeous new public library and cultural arts center, our city’s gem; I am very proud.

What have been your biggest challenges so far in local government?

Learning the intricate aspects of city management; there are many things to know about local government! Serving on the board of my state NP association helped me understand politics in our state capitol. I learned interesting things from our lobbyist, such as how to look at bills from perspectives I hadn’t thought of. Serving in this capacity and as president, I learned how governmental systems work and how that translates into city management.

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Should more nurses and healthcare workers be involved in politics?

Absolutely. Nurses and NP have a unique blend of advanced thinking skills and compassion for others. This is a rare combination in politics.

Karie Pinnix
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