JT, Karen and other activist

  1. I just wanted to take the time to thank you guys. For the past month, I've researched the ANA and paid much attention to the legislation you post here. I finally came to the realization that without activist like ya'll, nursing would really be in a mess. It's easy to criticize you, the ANA and the unions; it's hard to do what you guys do..the brainwork and the legwork. I guess I'm also apologizing for giving you guys a hard time. I was struggling with myself over my lack of activity, so the easiest thing to do was criticize those who are active. I still haven't clicked on that "join the ANA" button yet, but I've come to the realization that the ANA for dang sure isn't hurting nursing. I've not quite satisfied my concerns over my state association, but I think on a national level , the ANA does a good job. I still see a big push for the advanced-practice nursing in my state assoc; that concerns me. I know your response, "Get involved, change it, etc.". I'm still throwing that thought around in my head. Anyhow, again, I just wanted to say thanks to you guys for keeping us educated. Were it not for your hard work, those like myself wouldn't only be uneducated, we'd probably be forgotten.

    tracy
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   -jt
    That was nice of you to say.

    And youre right about our response to your complaint about your state assoc......well my response anyway........ if your state assoc is focusing too much on Advanced Practice issues... (and they should focus on those issues too but not to the exclusion of direct-care nurses issues).... but if it is forgetting the direct-care nurses in your state - could it be because the only members it has are advanced practice nurses and there are no real numbers of direct-care nurses there to bring their own issues to the front or educate the rest them on what direct-care nurses needs are?

    I find it a contradiction for direct-care nurses to say "my state association doesnt do enough for direct-care nurses" and then find out that direct-care nurses arent even part of that association. So what did they expect to happen if they arent there?

    Any organization can only reflect its membership.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 6, '02
  4. by   Jenny P
    Here in Minnesota at least 9 of the 12 board members are STAFF NURSES on our MNA Board of Directors. I believe we have somewhere around 15,000 members in our state association, most of whom are members due to the MNA doing the collective bargaining (union) at their hospitals. As in most organizations these days, only about 1/10 of the members are considered active and involved, and these active members do a lot of volunteer work to help make the organization what it is.
    The only way to change your state association and other peoples' perception of it is to join and get involved in it. ANA and your state association are only as strong as their individual ACTIVE members make it. There ARE staff nurses on ANAs' Board of Directors and on its' Commissions and Task Forces.
    I know, you're probably thinking that it isn't easy to juggle shift hours, family, and your life to be on some big Commission or Task Force; or maybe you are thinking that you don't have any special skills or degrees (or -- whatever) that ANA or your state association could use. But there are many things you can do in just 2-3 hours per month that CAN make a difference in your organization.

    Tracy, you have done some research on your own and have seen some of the things that the ANA has done. Karen and JT really deserve your thanks for their continuous postings here in spite of adversity (and Wildtimes' postings!). I applaud them for their dedication and hard work.

    Karen and JT, my hat is off to you! But can you imagine if more members were actively involved in their state association? Wouldn't it be great?
    -Jenny
    Last edit by Jenny P on Jan 6, '02
  5. by   WashYaHands
    I agree with the above posts. It's very beneficial to have nurses like Karen and Jt and others who make an effort to increase our awareness of what goes on in our profession and how we can be involved in change.

    Linda
  6. by   -jt
    Golly gee....... lol

    It was nice to read something besides insults for a change.

    Thanks to all of you, too. FYI, I am a single parent with 3 daughters ages 16,14, & 10. And I work full time in an ICU. Im no big organizer, I dont work for the association, Im an active member of it & most of that activity is thru the mail & occasional meetings. I dont have any time either. But at the end of the day, we all have to take some bit of responsibility for ourselves, our profession, and our employment. Like the lady said, if we dont go to the voting booth, we have no right to complain about the results.
  7. by   nightingale
    jt and Karen.... you are both the best... your hard work is very much appreciated by me too! B. (New ANA Member)
  8. by   nurs4kids
    Jenny,
    You're exactly right, it is very nice of them to continue to answer questions, care enough to see that CORRECT info is posted in spite of wildtime and my own negative postings. That is exactly what I thought I was doing; thanking and apologizing. I didn't mean to exclude you, Jenny, you're one of the ones that I think does a wonderful job.

    As for my state board members, well it looks to me to be about 70-75% advanced practice. You all are exactly right in saying it may be because bedside nurses are not active. I was all prepared to tell you about my two small kids, hubby and lack of time for activity, but <grins> jt just squashed that idea. I'm close, real close, to volunteering some time with my ANA, just gotta make that move. Guess I should click on that "join" button first

    Anyhow, if I didn't say it clearly the first time, here goes again. Thank you, jt, jenny, karen and other activist for all you do for our profession. Also, thank you for tolerating the negativity I have helped perpetuate lately. I was challenging you, and you won. Your consistent effort forced me to research, and through that research, I learned I was wrong.

    Keep up the good work, please.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    Thanks for some kind words. It was nice meeting JT in Washington this past spring along with other RN's who are also passionate about nursing.

    I too work FT 5 days a week, have two teenage sons, husband (threatens take away my internet privileges...he can't play Diabblo online, if I'm posting here, LOL) cared for my 93 YO grandmother who died this past week along with advising/helping parents at times and taking 1 masters course per semester.

    Don't expect a clean house if you stop by, LOL, is my standard refrain. Caring for family and nursing community are my priorities. Like JT, I attend about 4-6 meetings a year, run monthly to nursing district PO mail box and pay bills as DCNA district treasurer. The internet greatly speeds communication among members and allows us to do a lot of work on-line that formerly would require a face-to face-meeting.

    I inform my state and federal legislators via e-mail, at times, my views on how legislation affects nursing and healthcare....and give them reminders at my son's Boy Scout Troop Eagle Dinners (3 this year)!

    If you haven't been a recent ANA member, you wouldn't know how much we've grown and changed to reflect the membership of today and the significant problems bedside nurses are facing...in hospitals, long term care, rehab and home health settings. Since I've been a member almost twenty years, I've seen the SNA/ANA go through up and down times. I've been all over the ANA website due to looking for info on needlestick safety as part of my job responsibilities. Just like I will travel a road to see where it will lead me at times (helpful in home care...and finding Boy Scout troop campsite at 7PM last Saturday night after the funeral), I travel the internet to see what interesting/exciting places are out there.

    Wildtime might be changing careers, but you'll see me at my Senior retirement complex in 30 years zipping down the halls in my Lark scooter, checking someone's BP or that they took their meds and got refills, since my other Grandmom died at 99 1/2!
  10. by   Jenny P
    Nurs4kids, I wasn't fishing for complements for myself when I posted my above message. I sincerely do want to thank Jt and Karen for sticking with it even when I haven't been on here much. There are times when we all have too many irons in the fires; and I have been trying to stay on the BB but haven't been involved in as many of these discussions as I used to.
    As far as myself, I've been involved with MNA and ANA for over 22 years, and am married (my husband has MS, and is still working, thanks to all of his different meds) and have 2 ADHD kids (ages 22 and 19). I have only worked .7- .9 since my 2nd child was born because she was a real "wench", shall we say. I also volunteered at their elementary school when they were young, have done yearly fund raising events for my different parish churches and the kids schools, was Webelos den mother for 2 years, taught catechism for a couple of years (no other parents wanted to do it for 7th grade--the year they learned about sex and the Catholic church), put out the Boy Scout newsletter for a troop of 60 boys for 3 years (and drove 6 years to all of the campouts with the Caravan full of 6 rowdy Scouts each time). In other words, I've had fun!
    And my involvement with MNA and ANA have kept me in touch with my "Professional life" in a way that nothing else has been able to. I have friends in all aspects and levels of nursing after serving as a volunteer on many committees at the district level, and on the Practice Commission and various Task Forces at the state level. I have even attended a National Practice Institute at ANA and was amazed to see what happens in nursing across the country! I've served as a delegate for state and national conventions for many years and really enjoy the networking that I can do there. One of my most favorite volunteer positions was Director-at-large for 3rd District nurses; mostly because my kids (who were young at the time) kept saying I was the "Director of Large Nurses"-- and I wasn't large at the time!
  11. by   canoehead
    I joined the ANA after reading the comments on this board and thinking about what I could contribute. But I don't think I will renew my membership. When the Maine State Nurses Association split from the ANA the national organization cut all it's Maine members loose, even those of us who joined directly to the national association by going online. Even before the split I got no information about what was going on, or what I could do, just a confirmation of my membership and the magazine subscriptions. I went to the MSNA conference and no one said hello even in passing, and I commented on a resolution proposed and one of the oldies muttered "this is ridiculous." You know, if they don't want me around I will be happy to leave and take my $300 plus elsewhere too.

    I talked via email to the president of the ANA- Maine, the new state wide ANA branch and the national ANA confirms to him that they have a record of me joining, but still no correspondence with me. Why would I want to join an organization that treats it's members (especially me personally) so poorly.
  12. by   NRSKarenRN
    Canoehead:

    Have you received AJN or the American Nurse yet?
    Some states send newsletter out only 2 or 3 times a year...in PA we are down to 6 issues of PA Nurse.

    My distrcit only got 3 mailings last year.

    If not receiving above, contact ANA @www.nursingworld.org to make sure your name on state mailing list (we all make mistakes).

    Also sign up for state listserve and nursing world listserve service.
  13. by   RNPD
    nurs4kids-that was a classy and gutsy thing you did-it takes a big person to even THINK they may have made an error; you actually went further and researched the topic, and then shared your new opinions with us. That is all anyone really needs to do-research and then make up your own mind based on your educated opinion.

    I was actually surpised when you played "devil's advocate" re the ANA since I have often read and agreed with your other postings. Somehow it never sounded like you but the ANA seems to bring out a lot of emeotion in a lot of people. I think I mentioned somewhere that I also had the same doubts about the ANA some years ago, but in recent years have come to respect the work they do. As jt and Karen have so often pointed out, an organization reflects it's members and staff nurses need to get more involved. And yes, it is pricy to join-but i know that there are people out there insisting they can't afford the yearly dues who spend that much or more on "vices"-cigarettes, junk food (MY vice!), fancy clothes, etc. I'm not saying we shouldn't have those things-just trying to put it into perspective. My dear mom once said to me when I complained that lettuce was up to $1.29 a head: "But you'll pay $1.99 for a bag of chips and lettuce is at least nutritious". That simple sentence really made me stop & think about priorities, and even though she's gone now for many years, I still think of it when I think something costs too much. It all depends on perspective.

    Anyone, I'm glad you decided to research the ANA, and even if you decide it ultimately isn't for you, at least your decision is based on facts and not the opinons of one person.
  14. by   -jt
    <I talked via email to the president of the ANA- Maine, the new state wide ANA branch and the national ANA confirms to him that they have a record of me joining, but still no correspondence with me. Why would I want to join an organization that treats it's members (especially me personally) so poorly.>

    If thats how they usually operate, I wouldnt want to either. But I dont think this is how they operate. I would give it a chance.

    It sounds like you may have joined your state association at a very tense & disrupted period of time when the original MSNA was trying to pull the whole organization out of the ANA & separate its union nurses from its non-union nurses. Just to clarify - it wasnt the ANA that that cut you loose - it was the MSNA & its members who voted to pull you all out of the ANA. With the majority vote of the nurses who showed up to vote on it, they had the right to do so - if something is approved by the members who are there to vote, it gets done. (thats why its important to go to the conferences - to vote). That old biddie nurse may have just been venting her frustration at this whole situation.

    Just for the record, the ANA went to court to try to stop the MSNA from cutting you all loose. But the court didnt agree. When all the dust settled, nurses who did not want to leave the ANA had gotten together & formed a new Maine state organization & called it ANA-Maine.

    If I read this correctly, you were not treated warmly at a MSNA conference but taking into consideration what was going on at the MSNA at that contentious time, I guess people were understandably not in the best of moods then. Hopefully there is a better atmosphere among nurses in the new Maine-ANA organization.

    About the correspondence, cant help you there......I dont know what youre missing. Most of your correspondence should come from your state assoc. The ANA website is extensive. Publications we all receive where ANA work, activity, plans, & other nursing issues are discussed in The American Journal of Nursing and our newspaper The American Nurse 2002 - both of which we get automatically

    Anyway, Id give it a chance because ANA-Maine is a new association and may not have all the kinks worked out in their office yet. And Id continue to call the head of that association until I was satisfied that they were.

    BTW, have you joined any of the committees that are of interest to you in your state association? Not that that has anything to do with your post but it helps a new member to learn more about the issues in your state and the association & helps nurses find their niche in the association where theyd best like to contribute their talents.

    Have fun. See you in Philly in June???
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 9, '02

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