<i want to be an advocate for better staffing and treatment of nurses. How can I get more involved?.......
Unfortunately at my school, the members of SNA served more as a deterant to join than an encouragement--> very clique-y.>>
First, if youre in Michigan, call the Michigan Nurses Association right now and register to attend "Nurse Impact", taking place on April 23rd (use the student discount).
"NURSE IMPACT" is a major grass roots nurse activist event conducted by the Michigan Nurses Assoc. You cant get any more involved than that in advocating for nurses! Its very exciting to be part of something like Nurse Impact.
You dont have to be a member to attend. This major nurse activism/nurse advocate/poltical action event will help you decide how to get more involved. Your eyes will be opened like you can not believe!
Check out the details at the website. While youre deciding what to do to get more involved, Id strongly suggest attending & participating in "Nurse Impact". You will learn a lot, experience a lot, and get a lot accomplished. And also find out if this kind of thing is for you. There will be an open forum for students at one point during the day, so bring your friends.
This may be just what youre looking for.
Dont let the quirks of a few at school deter you from joining your state nurses association. (Michigan Nurses Association has lots of great pro-active nurses! I spent almost a week with them & nurses from 20 other states at a nurse activism conference in Las Vegas last Sept - had a great time at the Let It Ride Tables with a couple of Michigan State Association nurses too!).
If you really want to get involved in nurse activism, the state association is where you need to be. If you want to be involved in advocating for safe staffing & working conditions, not joining your state association would be like cutting your nose to spite your face. That is the organization that is leading the fight there & has the attention of the powers-that-be in your state (elected officials, media, other organizations). The state associations have the numbers, resources, and contacts to make a difference & could use all the help they can get.
As a member, you can fight for nurses by participating on a specific committees, including the political action committee, vote on issues that direct the organization, as well as be a liason to the media and legislators to get our issues to the forefront. There is much more besides attending great nurse activist events like Nurse Impact and lobby days.
Taking an active part in the state associations, especially in the governmental affairs activities is where you can really get involved in activism for nurses. Michigan State Nurses assoc is also the largest RN union there, so they are doing a lot of staff nurse activism - tons of opportunitities for you to be involved.
Being involved in the political activity advocating for nurses can be exhilarating, encouraging, and effective in making changes happen state-wide (including the safe staffing legislations that was passed in 7 states, is currently in the works in another 12 states and the ban mandatory ot legislation that is in the works in 16 states - how do you think they got there???). ; )
Nurses in State Associations WRITE most of the bills in their state legislature that address nursing isssues - including staffing & banning mandatory ot. Nurses in the New York State Nurses association WROTE the Nurse Retention-Quality Care Act that has recently been submitted to Congress by Sen. Hillary Clinton & the Senator from Oregon for passage into national law. And believe me we all have some "cliques" too. Thats just human nature everywhere.
If you let those few who are clique-y in your student nurses assoc(as some people are, no matter where you go) deter you from getting involved in your state assoc, they just go on being a clique & you miss out on all the opportunitites of becoming involved in the way that you want to be involved. The only one who loses out is you - and the nurses you could have helped with your involvement.
Forget about the clique-y few that you met at school & get your own information so you can make an informed decision. Visit the website of your state association. Browse thru their governmental/political affairs, collective bargaining (union services), and news press releases pages to see what theyve been doing in your state.
Contact your state association & tell them you want to be part of their next Lobby Day at the state capitol or other local political event. You do not have to be a member to participate. Attend an event (too bad you missed their state-wide convention) & see the organization as a whole - how it works & what it is doing - before you make a decision not to become part of it. You'll have a better idea if its what you are looking for to meet your needs if you actually see it at work. Dont judge based on those few sweeties at your school.
Also, you can contact the National Student Nurses Association. They are a good organization for nursing students as far as academic issues and assitance but you can also ask if they have a political action/nurse activism agenda. I dont know. Their national convention is in April in Philadelphia. Karen says that when she attended it in 1982, it opened her eyes to a wide array of nursing opportunities and advocacy
You can also contact the ANA to participate in nurse activism with the RN Lobby Day in Washington DC and/or attend the ANA national convention in Philadelphia this June. (students receive discounts)
You do not have to be a member to attend any of these events. Convention details have previously been posted at this thread and several of us will be attending:
Some of the programs that will be available there are:
-Turning the Public into Nursing's Advocate
-Your Workplace Rights
-A Conversation with Nursing's Leaders
-Staff Nurses Speak Out: Their Needs for Ethics Resources and Education to be Effective Patient Care Advocates
-Medication Errors: a Measure of the Nursing Shortage
-Disposable Nurses - Don't Allow Yourself to Become a Dying Breed
-The Aging RN Workforce: Retaining Our Most Experienced Nurses
-Legality, Ethics and Compassion in 21st Century Nursing Care
-Yes or No? Assignment Despite Objection
-Dollars and Sense: Financial Planning for Nurses
-Nurse Staffing: The California Experience
you can get a glimpse of the full 30-program schedule at:
About RN Lobby Days, (similar to Michigans "Nurse Impact" next month), this may be something youd be interested in too. Individual state nurses assoc conduct them regularly at their state capitols with the state legislators and once a year we have a national one in DC with Congress. We use these events to focus attention on issues like safe staffing levels and nurses working conditions & educate the law-makers on why we need them to vote for these laws. Several us from this BB participated in the one we did in DC last year. Posts describing the experience, the issues we discussed with our own federal legislators one-on-one, what we learned, how we educated them, their responses, and the exhilarating time we all had can be found at:
(scroll down the page past the posts about meeting for dinner!)
Was this all too much information?? ; )
I just love pro-active students! You guys let us old bags know theres hope for the future.
Good Luck. Have fun. (and thanks)