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Jaymalisa Whatley, a Junior II in the Traditional Bachelor of Nursing Science at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing, penned the winning entry in the National Student Nurses’ Association's (NSNA) and's 17th Annual Essay Contest. She wrote about the NSNA’s resolution, “In Support of Advocacy for Policies Supporting Affordable Health Coverage and Quality Care” adopted by the NSNA House of Delegates last spring and available here.

“It should be deemed unacceptable that almost 10 percent of the United States population is without health coverage despite the expansion of Medicaid,” wrote Whatley. “Through this resolution, we can hope to impact patients and nurses by providing an extra voice for the promotion of a healthier country.”

Her essay continued, “This resolution does not stop at helping patients to receive affordable health care coverage, but can be utilized to help nurses provide better quality care. I believe that this resolution is the first step of many for organizations like the National Student Nurses' Association and American Nurses Association to provide more information about health disparities and join the fight for equal and affordable healthcare. Then, through education, we can provide patients with the resources they need to increase patient outcomes and decrease health disparities.”

This national honor is just the latest evidence that this Harvey native stands out. There is nothing ordinary about Jaymalisa Whatley, beginning with her unusual name.

She says people always wonder where she got it. “It’s a combination of my grandfather James’ and my great aunt Letha’s names.”

Jaymalisa Whatley
Her taste in food is also, to put it mildly, a bit different. “I like to dip my french fries in ice cream, and I love Swiss Rolls, but only if they are Little Debbie brand.”

Fur babies top her list of passions. “I have three dogs, and I squeal like a 5-year-old when I see a dog in the part or any other public place.”

She is equally passionate about health policy, women’s health, children’s health and education, and the delivery of quality health care – to all.

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Jaymalisa Whatley
“We should never make judgments or assumptions about why the patient is not taking their medication, but instead, talk with them to assess their habits and lifestyle, including social and economic status. Then together, we can help our patient figure out the problem and a solution.”

Whatley serves as the Student Nurses Association Break Through to Nursing Coordinator and is an active member of the Interprofessional Student Alliance. She has big plans for her future.

“When I graduate I want to work on a pediatric floor or in labor and delivery, although Labor and delivery is my top choice. When I complete my BSN, I want to return to school and get my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.“

And although she plans to leave for a while, her heart will remain in Louisiana. “I want to practice somewhere on the West Coast, but I want to come back to Louisiana to own a practice dedicated to low-income families.”

According to NSNA, "Founded in 1952, NSNA is a nonprofit organization for students enrolled in associate, baccalaureate, diploma, and generic graduate nursing programs. It is dedicated to fostering the professional development of nursing students. The organization has 60,000 members in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."