A Message From ANA President
Mary Foley, MS, RN
Nurses have always cared for America - from cradle to grave, in times of peace and times of war, and in sickness and in health. And at no time has nursing ever been more vital to our nation than now. That is why this year, during National Nurses Week 2002 (NNW), May 6-12, ANA and its constituent member associations are saluting nurses across the country with the theme Nurses Care for America.
This year's theme not only reflects the many ways in which nurses have consistently delivered quality patient care and advocated for their patients but it also draws attention to the important value society places on nurses. The respect of the public for nurses is evidenced in the nursing profession's consistently high rankings in CNN/USA Today/Gallup "Honesty and Ethics" polls. Last fall, nurses ranked No. 2 for their honesty and integrity, behind firefighters, with 84 percent of Americans rating them "high" or "very high." And nurses had previously rated No. 1 for two years in a row, after being added to the list in 1999.
Appreciation and respect for nurses and the critical role they play in health care delivery is also becoming increasingly evident in corporate America. For example, Johnson & Johnson launched a prime-time network television ad "Campaign for Nursing's Future" in February, which has helped generate increased visibility and support for nursing (see www.discovernursing.com
). ANA and its constituent member associations have been greatly supportive of this campaign, which is designed in part to recruit more nurses, and, as an advisor to the campaign, I have urged Johnson & Johnson to also embrace retention of existing nurses as part of its advocacy efforts, as well.
Of course, most nurses are acutely familiar with the news about the nation's looming nursing shortage - which is expected to peak in 2010, just as the bulk of the nation's baby boomers reach retirement age. But many people - nurses included - may not be aware of what ANA and other organizations have been doing to address this issue and promote the profession. That is why, during National Nurses Week, ANA will be focusing on the following:
Patient Advocacy/Quality of Care - On May 6, ANA will lend a statement of support as New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) representatives join Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (R-NY) in introducing patient quality-of-care legislation, which, if passed, would provide grants to health care organizations to implement nursing administration practices, or forces of magnetism, that are characteristic of Magnet facilities.
Nurse Reinvestment Act - On May 7, ANA representatives will join members of Congress and students from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing to converge on the Capitol for a press conference designed to call for congressional action on the Nurse Reinvestment Act (S. 1864 and H.R. 3487). www.NursingWorld.org/pressrel/2001/pr1220b.htm
Nursing's Agenda for the Future - During a special live telecast on May 8th, from 12-1:30 p.m. EDT, I will personally discuss the nursing shortage and the profession's comprehensive plan designed to address it. Titled Nursing's Agenda for the Future, this comprehensive plan involves the coordinated work of ANA and 60 other nursing organizations, which have united around a shared vision for the future of the profession and developed a strategic plan to address the complex, interrelated factors that have created the fast-growing nursing shortage. The plan focuses on strategies that will move the profession forward in quantum leaps, thereby ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality nursing care. (Please visit www.pwpl.com/healthcare
for more information on how you can view and participate in this worthwhile program. For moreinformation about Nursing's Agenda, see www.NursingWorld.org/naf.
In addition to these NNW activities, ANA will issue a statement of support on May 9 regarding proposed legislation to improve nurse staffing in nursing homes. And ANA also will be renewing the push for passage of the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act (S.1686 and H.R. 3238), companion legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in November 2001, which would strictly limit the use of mandatory overtime for nurses, a dangerous practice that has contributed to a recent exodus of nurses from the nation's hospitals and a decline in safe, quality patient care.
Through these various NNW activities, it is ANA's goal to reinforce the value of and reinvigorate interest in nursing and to ensure a bright future for this most noble and caring of professions. But we can't do it alone. That is why we are asking for your help. Please call your member of Congress today - by dialing 202-224-3121 - and ask him or her to support these various bills, which are vital to the continued health and prosperity of nursing.
As we celebrate our profession and recognize our colleagues, I would like to extend my appreciation for your commitment to nursing, and my hope that in the future - thanks to all of our collective efforts -- the nursing profession will be even stronger and better than ever.