Nurses' political engagement is needed for societal advancements.
The purpose of this study was to explain why and how nurses became politically active, and what they achieved.
Qualitative, constant-comparative data analysis was used for this study. After 10 elected or politically-active Canadian nurses were interviewed, data saturation was confirmed.
All were motivated by early life events to realize the importance of social justice and good government. Their nursing education and work equipped them to be capable of engaging in political spheres. All had developed knowledge of relevance for political purposes; in addition to confidence, communication skills, and other abilities to be effective politically. All highlighted the importance of being encouraged and assisted to engage politically. Positive micro-, meso-, and macro-level benefits of this involvement were identified.
More nurses should be inspired and helped to become active politically.
It is critically important for nurses to inform and advance public policy, through direct political activities.