Nurses Political Involvement: Importance of Nursing Activism 2/07

  1. articles:

    2007 ojin: the online journal of issues in nursing
    overview and summary: power to influence patient care: who holds the keys?
    by fran beall, aprn, bc

    the introductory articles in this ojin topic look at power from different perspectives....

    manojlovich discusses the various concepts and definitions of power, both in nursing and in other settings and disciplines, providing the historical framework in which to study the evolution of power in nursing practice over the years. she compares the positive outcomes of empowerment on nursing status and professional autonomy with the negative impact of nurses’ failing to understand and embrace power. positive patient outcomes, as well as increased satisfaction for nurses themselves, are inextricably linked to nursing power, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in research on magnet hospitals. manojlovich further discusses the organizational characteristics which are key contributors to the nurses’ power to influence patient care in the current work setting.

    abood looks at nursing power in the context of political and legislative advocacy in a health care system badly in need of change. this article points out the symbiotic relationship which exists between the practice setting and the legislative arena, and the ways in which political advocacy can enhance nursing practice in the work setting. after outlining the historical perspective of nursing advocacy, abood defines the sources from which nurses can derive power. such an understanding, along with knowledge of the policy-making process and the political forces which govern it, is vital to effective nursing advocacy. she provides specific examples of nurses who have identified problems within the health care system, and who were able to bring about needed change by developing and utilizing political skills. abood makes the very important point that most policy changes require sustained group effort over many months, which should highlight the importance to nurses of their professional organization as the vehicle for such changes...

    nurses' political involvement: responsibility versus privilege

    journal of professional nursing
    volume 21, issue 1, pages 5-8 (january 2005)

    carol boswell, rn, edd, sharon cannon, rn, edd, joyce miller, rn, msn, c, whcnp

    nursing apathy toward participation in the political process is pandemic. never more so than today has the profession needed a strong united stand within the political arena. political involvement encompasses being knowledgeable about issues, laws, and health policy. barriers to political activism are thought to encompass several spectra including heavy workloads, feelings of powerlessness, time constraints, sex issues, and lack of understanding of a complex political process.

    the implementation of a political role for a nurse is based on three levels of commitment including survival, success, and significance.
    survival includes individual involvement within communities. success accepts challenges in addressing injustices especially within the health-care arena. significant involvement uses visionary nurses toward the betterment of the nurse profession.

    strategies for involvement include political awareness, incorporation of course/program expectations on both undergraduate and graduate levels and teamwork. as patient advocates, nurses cannot continue to be spectators in the political arena.

    a phenomenological approach to political competence: stories of nurse activists

    policy, politics, & nursing practice, vol. 4, no. 2, 135-143 (2003)
    2003 sage publications

    joanne rains warner, phd, rn, dns

    [s] political competence is the skills, perspectives, and values needed for effective political involvement within nursing's professional role. political competence is requisite within nursing to (a) intervene in the broad socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health, (b) intervene effectively in a culturally diverse society, (c) partner in development of a humane health care system, and (d) bring nursing's values to policy discussions. this phenomenological study used narratives of 6 politically expert nurse activists to enhance our understanding of political competence. [/s]

    six themes emerged from an analysis of the lived experience of their political involvement. they include nursing expertise as valued currency, opportunities created through networking, powerful persuasion, commitment to collective strength, strategic perspectives, and perseverance. these themes can inform development toward greater political efficacy for individual nurses and for the profession collectively.


    queensland nurses union - political power and nurses
    6 may 1999
    the importance of political power for nurses

    politics has become a dirty word for many people. however, decisions made in the political arena impact upon our lives - both at work and in the broader social sense. in a truly democratic society, democracy should be more than simply voting once every three years or so. a democratic society affords all people the opportunity to participate in political debates, and yet we should not take these rights for granted....

    ...but why is politics so important? part of the answer to this lies in the formation of the australia labor party - formed by unions at the time to ensure that ordinary working men and women could have a voice in their own governments, which until then had been dominated by the very wealthy acting for the very wealthy. it is this need (indeed right) to have a say and to influence decisions on a range of issues that makes political power so important for nurses.



    nurses in the political arena: the public face of nursing
    by sandra beth lewenson, harriet r. feldman
    includes chapter : historical perspective on nurses active in the political process

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 30, '08 : Reason: revised link
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  3. by   anonymurse
    The reasons, I believe, that nurses aren't united in political action are many, but there are 5 major obvious reasons that need to be dealt with:

    1. Most major nursing organizations are exclusive: that is, they blindly follow a traditional RN/LPN split. Neither group alone is generally large enough to be noticed as a voting bloc. (I will continue to hammer on the abysmal stupidity of such a self-division of strength, as the dedication of RNs and LPNs is, snot-slinging aside, of equal and exemplary fervor in comparison to the average occupational group, and their concerns--staffing, pay, pt and staff safety and so on--are identical). Organizations also fragment the nursing population by geography and specialty or cause.

    2. Representation of nurses by any organization is too small (as reflected by membership figures) for politicians to believe these organizations will make much difference in whether they get elected. (However organizations need to lower their dues and deliver more services in order to get more membership, and will paradoxically have more money thereby).

    3. Organizational agenda are too general. Say an organization's goals include a statistical evening of outcomes for all socio-cultural-economic groups. We'll have to ask whether it's possible, whether the organization is capable of bringing about such a change, and whether anything the org has done has even minutely advanced the goal. Too-general aims destroy credibility and draw yawns. Give us something we can actually change in our communities.

    4. Organizational agenda are too overloaded in a management sense. Too many aims dilute the org's resources. Focus is lost and the org flounders.

    5. Organizational agenda are too overloaded in a political sense leading to division of membership. Although activisim is the traditional bailiwick of the liberal, a huge segment of nursing is owned by a group as large or larger and possessed of moral conviction of equal strength: conservatives and the religiously committed. Thus, to adopt resolutions on either side addressing non-nursing issues such as abortion, gun control, the war in Iraq, and so on, is to guarantee a divided membership and chase away half the prospective members.

    So we need a national organization of RNs and LPNs with low dues and the majority of dues going to local grassroots efforts, that addresses only areas of professional nursing concern--think "scope of practice" applied to an org.

    Or we can keep doing the same thing as always, hoping for a different outcome.
    Last edit by anonymurse on Mar 27, '07
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    US Labor laws are written so that technical workers (LPN) and Professionals (RN) are considered 2 seperate groups and inelligible for single collective barganing organization. Scope of practice differs between both license levels ---how can one orgnaization promote a role without negatively influencing / affecting the other??

    These issues are what has kept us appart for over 50 years.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    It is truly unfortunate that federal law separates licensed nurses.
    We work together so well for our patients.
  6. by   forrester
    No one denies the activist historical roots of nursing from FLO to WALD. The women who started up nursing in this country were incredible in their committment to community health.

    The medical practice acts of the 1920's changed all that. Nursing was cut off at the knees.

    It wasn't until the 1950's (college prepared nurses) and the 1960's (nurse practitioners) that we started to recover.

    What happened since then?????

    Nursing fractured.
    Nurse educators focused more and more on the education of the individual nurse and lost track of the field of nursing.
    Our nurse executives sold out to the CEO's and AHA.

    Most working nurses just got tired of
  7. by   menetopali
    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    US Labor laws are written so that technical workers (LPN) and Professionals (RN) are considered 2 seperate groups and inelligible for single collective barganing organization. Scope of practice differs between both license levels ---how can one orgnaization promote a role without negatively influencing / affecting the other??

    These issues are what has kept us appart for over 50 years.
    while this may shock some: professional organization does not equal union!

    having a professional organization to advocate for members of that profession and those the profession serves is a positive thing. such professional organizations can determine their own membership rules and act within the political process as they are not unions. nursing needs such a professional organization that can bring nurses together for the profession instead of acting as if it were a union. (i refer back to post by anonymurse)

  8. by   newleaf2012
    I think it would be easier if every one had to be a r.n to practice nursing just like in pretty much every other western country
    now thats unity