<Why isn't the ANA reaching out and undertaking an aggressive membership drive?>
It is. Thats all part of the restructuring that has just been put into motion.
All of the studies and strategies you mention are not intangibles. They are aimed to provide the proof we need to make our argument in the legislature & get the laws we need passed. Concrete results come when we get those laws passed & employers are forced to comply by law. We're doing it state by state as well as in DC. But it does not happen overnight. Especially when you have those big-money special interests groups whispering into the legislators ears telling them why they should vote against us. Believe me, I share your frustration. Some people might think its not important for the ANA to endorse political candidates but it most certainly is necessary to help get elected those candidates who are on our side. Its not like you make it sound that we're sitting around doing nothing but writing fancy papers. As far as the media, the ANA & its members brought the nurse staffing crisis to the forefront of the news media a couple of years ago and have been on local, national, TV & radio and almost every newspaper & magazine item on the topic, keeeping it in the forefront. Many of your comments pertain to the ANA as it was in the past. Its a different organization with a different focus now. Your points about the organization as it used to be are valid and many staff RN members (including me), and other kinds of RN members felt the same way. So, instead of complaining about it, we took leadership roles within the organization and have changed it a lot since then. And still are. But we can always use more help.
BTW, you dont have to buy copies of ANA studies to read them. You can read them online or in our newspaper, The American Nurse, which is also online. You dont pay for the report. You only have to pay for the copying, shipping, and handling if you want the whole thing sent to you in the mail. Incidentally, you can send a copy of your post and questions to the ANA or have it printed in our newspaper thru their "contact us" link on its website.
Debra, there was a march on DC in 1995 - over 35,000 RNs, LPNs and healthcare workers from all over the country attended and brought downtown DC to a halt at lunchtime. It was at the time that RNs were being "downsized" out of the job and replaced with nurses aides. The issue was safe patient care. The motto: "Every Patient Deserves A Registered Nurse". It was an exhilarating day. You can get a videotape of it at www.greatnurses.com.
It was the most inspiring thing I ever was involved in. I couldnt wait to get home and see the newspapers and 11pm news. I was shocked that neither said a thing about it. Most of the news stations didnt bother to mention it at all. And the downsizing continued. In 1996, another RN march on DC was organized. Hardly any nurses showed up.
Angel, Oprah did do a show on nurses a few years ago, around the time that RNs were being downsized out of the hospitals and remaining nurses were being left in skeletal staffs. The nurses on the stage were there to talk about those issues. Oprah just kept asking to hear their sensational "horror stories". That was her very first question & all she was stuck on. The nurses on the stage talked about declining quality care and the lack of RNs that were causing those horror stories. Nurse administrators in the audience took exception to their comments. The whole show ended up being an argument between the angry staff RNs about their working conditions & the angry RN executive types disputing what they said. It was embarrassing & depressing to watch. The whole message was lost and we looked like a profession full of back-biting, bytchin females. Oprah was not happy. Im sure after that show she vowed never to do another with nurses as guests.