Sunday, March 4, 2012

D.C. Recap

So I had to share my recent trip to D.C. for a Nurse in Washington Internship.  It was a great experience personally and professionally.  I have never been an active health policy advocate for nursing or pediatric nurse practitioners.  I'm going to be president of our pediatric nurse practitioner organization in a little over a year and a half and so thought what better time to learn about healthy policy/advocacy prior to becoming leader of this organization.  I received a scholarship to attend the conference- which was huge in the financial department and then my boss supported the trip further by covering the travel/hotel cost.  I'm indebted to these groups who made this awesome experience for me possible.

So here is the recap.
I flew into Dulles on Friday (sorry a week ago- behind on posts) and met my dad and sister.  My dad's whole extended family lives in northern Virginia so the conference came at perfect time to turn the trip into a mini family reunion.  We drove right to where my grandpa is now living (assisted living home) and visited with him and took him out for early dinner with my aunt and uncle (who my sis, dad and I were staying with).  The next morning my sis and I got up and did a run to the downtown area- it was relaxing run and quite nice and sunny.   We did a little shopping and then met the rest of the extended family (my three uncles and one aunt, grandpa, one cousin, two of her kids) for lunch.  It was a quick trip but good to visit with everyone, especially my grandpa.  Then my aunt, uncle and dad took my sis and I to D.C.

I stayed at Hotel George- only a couple of blocks from the capitol.  This is a Kimpton hotel and I will put my plug in now- I've never not had anything but excellent service at all Kimpton Hotels and highly recommend staying there if you haven't.  This one was no exception.  We checked in 30 minutes after their daily wine hour (free wine for one hour everyday for their guests) and so the gentleman checking us in gave us a glass to take up to our room with us.  The hotel was very nice and I really enjoyed my stay there.  Sis and I went to Union Station and had appetizers and a few drinks and met a nice bartender William.  William has lived in D.C. his whole life and is currently single parenting it and raising two boys in D.C.  He gave us some great advice on where to eat in D.C.
Great little room in Hotel George.  His picture was found throughout the hotel.

Wine and George- who could ask for more. 

Sunday started somewhat early with a 6 mile run along the "mall" in D.C.  I took my camera and got a lot of great shots of the monuments.  It was a wonderful run- one of my favorites I think.  My sis and I then went to the National Museum of American History.  This is one of many museums in D.C. that are free.  I had never been to this museum.  Here is a brief highlight of what I saw: Warner Brothers Theatre area (including Oscar won by Casablanca for best picture), Star Spangled Banner exhibit- American Flag that hung over Fort McHenry which Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner about- brought tears to my eyes, American Stories exhibit, Within these walls (200 year old home that was saved and moved to the museum before demolition)- this exhibit showed America throughout those 200 years, Treasure of Popular Culture, 1939, Musical Instrument, Dolls House, First Ladies (dresses and other accessories worn by the first lady of the United States), American Presidency ( I enjoyed how they highlighted all areas of the president's life including their children and hobbies).  My conference started after that.

First Lady Michelle Obama's dress.

Me getting ready to run "the Mall"

 Couldn't believe the blossoms were already out on some trees.

Martin Luther King Jr. monument was impressive.  More impressive were the great quotes Mr. King spoke in his lifetime.  I tried taking pictures but they just didn't turn out.  I'm going to try and find out which ones line his monument- they were very powerful.

Following the conference sis and I went to Lauriol Plaza a Mexican restaurant in Dupont Circle.  It was O.K. not as great as William had made it out to be.  I think we should have gone with the pitcher of margarita not sangria.  Following the dinner we walked and got to see quite a few beautiful brownstones.  We then had a couple of drinks at a bar while watching the beginning of the Oscar's.  Headed back to our Hotel and I finished watching the Oscar's.  
Next day my sis left for the airport to fly back home and this was my longest day of the conference because I had the conference sessions until 5:30 and then headed to another meeting looking at particular "Asks" we would be talking to legislative Health policy aids/assistants the following day in regard to Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.  I got home about 8:30, but just couldn't sleep.  I felt like I was cramming for an exam. I was reading up on the "Asks" I would present to my legislators.  I was excited and nervous about going "to the hill" and asking for "asks" in regard to nursing and nurse practitioners.  However, I went to sleep and woke up raring to go.

" I cannot live without books" 
Thomas Jefferson June 10, 1815

I then went back and did another great run on "the mall".  This time I went to the Jefferson Memorial and to the White House.  It was beautiful day.  My last meeting of the day was probably my favorite, because that staffer asked a lot of questions and seemed the most interested.  I also was chattynatty with her and asked her about her life in D.C.  She talked about their 40+ work weeks and how many of them live with 3-4 other roommates to make the rent affordable.  Some people may be put off that such young people are helping advise our congressmen, but I found it refreshing- they are energetic and have unbelievable work ethics.  At the end of my "day on the hill" I truly felt that I had done something truly American-  we all have the ability as constituents to meet with our legislators and "Ask" for our wants/desires and also make them more informed.  They only have so much time in their day and so only by hearing from the people who vote for them and put them in office will they be best informed.  This internship made me less intimidated about approaching politicians and made me more aware of my civic duty to be more active in politics and health advocacy. 

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