Where is Nursing's Voice?

  1. There are approximately 2.7 million nurses in America.
    The American Nurses Association (ANA) holds itself to be the representative of the 2.7 million nurses in America.

    Less than 10% of all American nurses belong to the ANA.

    The ANA has been around since 1902, 2002 being its 100th anniversary.

    Most constituent member associations joined ANA in the early 1900's.


    Membership has declined steadily and dramatically over the past years. In the 1950s around 55% of nurses were members. In 1974 25 to 30% were members. Today less than 10%.

    Why is this? I used to be a member but dropped my membership because it was expensive and the only tangible thing I received from ANA was some sort of quarterly newsletter. I also watched as issues that negatively impacted nursing happened and continued to happen, where was the ANA? They were there but how effective have they been in standing up for nursing in ways that real nurses that work out in the patient care settings can relate to, in tangible ways?

    One of the major issues today is that nursing is seen as a consumer of resources, costly hourly manual labor, not a contributor to generating revenue for the hospitals. The relationship between nursing care, patient outcomes, and financial performance needs to be documented. ANA states that they have been aware of this for 10 YEARS but have done nothing effective. Instead they have been advocating meaningless research that contributes little if anything to advance the profession and improve techniques and practices that nurses use that directly impact patient care outcomes. Nursing practice, that is actual hands-on procedures and tasks that nurses initiate and do has changed little based on my observations. If some of you can give examples I would greatly appreicate it.

    The ANA has done some good things but nothing that gets the attention of the people in power that are running our healthcare system. The ANA has issued position statement after position statemet, what difference has this made? Hardly any.

    Look at the state of nursing today. Look at the issues we are facing. Look at the reasons why nurses are leaving the profession and new people not coming in to nursing.

    These issues have been brewing for quite some time and the ANA has failed to take effective, meaningful action. WHY IS THIS?

    Do these people really represent us? They can't if no one is a member and votes. The medical profession has a powerful organization through the AMA, it is powerful because it has good membership and financial support.

    We need our nurses to quit complaining and start doing something to change things or someone else will change it for us, it is already happening and they are not friends of nursing.

    One thing we can do is join our national association and insist they take effective action that will produce results, not powerless, meaningless, position papers.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   live4today
    I agree with the above. I have never been a member of ANA. I will research more about ANA, then conclude what I will do or won't do with them.

    I agree that many nurses complain. Boy, do I recall the days when nurses complained to each other...either in private or openly in the break rooms where "TPTB" couldn't overhear them. Then, when a staff meeting is called to address complaints, I could hear a pin drop in the room. No...let's make that a cotton ball. WHY IS THIS?


    Nurses who have done this.........speak up here..........what are the reasons for not speaking up when the opportunity presents itself for nurses to "make a change" by being an individual activists in our places of employment?

    Offhand I can think of two reasons: fear of repercussions from the higher ups or your boss and fear of being fired or looked at as a troublemaker.

    One: No one wants to lose their job.

    Two: Our financial status in this country has declined for the hardworking middleclass population to the point where we hold onto whatever we can jobwise because we are blessed to even have a job.

    Both good reasons! I won't knock that at all!

    When I think back in time to where we were as a people to where we are today, many people had to take a stand in spite of the odds against them. Had not many people in the history of our nation took a stand for making positive changes for the betterment of all...not just some...where would many of us be today?

    Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage IS doing what must be done IN SPITE OF the fear facing us.

    We need our Voices back, nurses. We need to begin to speak up for ourselves, and implement changes that make our profession of nursing one to once again be looked at with respect.
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 24, '03
  4. by   bellehill
    When I graduated from nursing school I immediately joined my states nursing association for an enormous fee and what did I get? Nothing. All the time we hear news reports which quote the AMA, where is the ANA? Give me a group that will support me and care about my profession and I will gladly join, in the meantime I am keeping my money...I have no problem fighting my own battles for free.

    Until nurses unite and have one voice we won't be taken seriously, the problem is finding that one voice. Anyone want to volunteer???:chuckle

    On a lighter note, I have been investigating the med-surg nurses association, anyone a member? Please tell me something good, I would love to join.
  5. by   jnette
    True Cheerfuldoer... your words ring sadly true.

    Just yesterday I turned in my scorching letter addressed to our higher administration regarding the recent policy changes affecting us all. I gave a copy to my DON who stated it was excellent. She did say we should all write a letter of disagreement(only after I made such a stink about it) and that she would fwd. them all to TPTB.

    Did any others write a letter? Even THINK about it? No. Not one. Not ONE !!! (granted, there are only 5 of us.. 2 LPNs and 3 RNs, one of which is our DON).

    But bytch and moan and grump around all day they do VERY well !

    I still say it is a mind set here in my corner of the world.. folks are glad to have a job, period. And TPTB take advantage of this.

    But it infuriates me. I wanted to shake them.. each and evryone of them.. wring their necks ! And they're my dear coworkers and friends, but WHAT WILL IT TAKE ??? After what happened last year (see the other related thread) to them all, they STILL keep quiet?
    My goodness, the company is having to make more cuts now due to the tubs of vaseline they went through last year... now these same ones who were so thoroughly screwed last year are going to bend over again ??? Guess this time the vaseline will come out of our own paychecks... then again, seeing as how everybody clams up instead of protesting, TPTB are probably are laughing their tails off and foregoing the vaseline altogether in this next round !!!

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