ANA & You: History & Current Vision

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.



September 2, 1896. Delegates from 10 alumnae associations met near New York City for the purpose of organizing a national professional association for nurses. 1897. Constitution and bylaws were completed and the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada was organized. 1899.

Name changed to Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States. April 18, 1901. The incorporation of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States completed and filed in Albany, New York. 1911.

Name changed to American Nurses Association. May 3, 1917. Incorporated in the District of Columbia. January 19, 1920. Incorporation in New York State annulled. July 1, 1982.

The American Nurses Association became a federation of constituent state nurses associations. March, 2000. Upon conferment of constituent member status on the Federal Nurses Association by the ANA Board of Directors, ANA became a federation of constituent member associations rather than a federation of constituent state nurses associations. Published by American Nurses Association Copyright © 2000

View the Centennial history of the association here:


We, the undersigned, a majority of whom are residents of the District of Columbia, desiring to avail ourselves of the provisions of Section 599, et sequitur, of the Code of Laws of the District of Columbia, do hereby certify as follows:

The name or title by which this Society shall be known is AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION.

The term for which it is organized shall be perpetual.

The purposes of this corporation are and shall be to promote the professional and educational advancement of nurses in every proper way; to elevate the standard of nursing education; to establish and maintain a code of ethics among nurses; to distribute relief among such nurses as may become ill, disabled, or destitute; to disseminate information on the subject of nursing by publications in official periodicals or otherwise; to bring into communication with each other various nurses and associations and federations of nurses throughout the United States of America; and to succeed to all rights and property held by the American Nurses Association as a corporation duly incorporated under and by virtue of the laws of the District of Columbia.

The number of its trustees for the first year of its existence shall be thirteen.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned Jane A. Delano, a resident of the District of Columbia, and Georgia M. Nevins, a resident of the District of Columbia, and Clara D. Noyes, a resident of the District of Columbia, and Annie W. Goodrich, a resident of the City of New York, and Sara E. Sly, a resident of Birmingham, Michigan, have hereto set our hands and seals this 28th day of April, 1917.






STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,PHILADELPHIA COUNTY SS:- Personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Jane A. Delano, Georgia M. Nevins, Annie W. Goodrich, Clara D. Noyes, and Sara E. Sly, who are personally well known to me to be the individuals who signed the foregoing and annexed certificate of incorporation and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed.Given under my hand and notarial seal this 28th day of April, 1917. ROSE MARIE KELLY

(Notarial Seal)

Notary Public

Commission expires 19 Jan., 1919

ARTICLE I Name, Purposes, and Functions

Section 1. Name

The name of this association shall be the American Nurses Association, hereinafter referred to as ANA.

Section 2. Purposes

The purposes of ANA shall be to--

work for the improvement of health standards and the availability of health care services for all people, and

foster high standards of nursing, and

stimulate and promote the professional development of nurses and advance their economic and general welfare.

These purposes shall be unrestricted by lifestyle, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Section 3.Functions

The functions of ANA shall be to-

establish standards of nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing services.

establish a code of ethical conduct for nurses.

ensure a system of credentialing in nursing.

initiate and influence legislation, governmental programs, national health policy, and international health policy.

support systematic study, evaluation, and research in nursing.

serve as the central agency for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information relevant to nursing.

promote and protect the economic and general welfare of nurses.

provide leadership in national and international nursing.

provide for the professional development of nurses.

conduct an affirmative action program.

ensure a collective bargaining program for nurses.

provide services to constituent members.

maintain communication with constituent members through official publications.

assume an active role as consumer advocate.

represent and speak for the nursing profession with allied health groups, national and international organizations, governmental bodies, and the public.

protect and promote the advancement of human rights related to health care and nursing

ARTICLE II Membership

Section 1.Composition

ANA shall be composed of state nurses associations, multi-state nurses associations, United States of America nurses overseas associations, and a federal nurses association composed of registered nurses whose employers are members of the Federal Nursing Services Council, limited to membership of the active component of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, and uniformed Public Health Service nurses, hereinafter referred to as constituent members

Section 2. Qualifications

A constituent member is an association that-

is composed of individual members and may include organizational members has articles of incorporation and bylaws that govern its individual members and regulate its affairs.

has stated and demonstrated purposes and functions congruent with those of ANA.

provides that each of its individual members has been granted a license to practice as a registered nurse in at least one state, territory, or possession of the United States and does not have a license under suspension or revocation in any state, or has completed a nursing education program qualifying the individual to take the state-recognized examination for registered nurse licensure as a first-time writer.

may, in accord with its policies and procedures, include in its membership the impaired nurse, in recovery, who has surrendered a license to practice.

provides that each of its organizational members or affiliates-

has a mission and purpose harmonious with the constituent member.

has a governing body composed of a majority of registered nurses. This shall not preclude the participation of organizations of associate nurses. The rights and privileges of the organizational members or affiliates shall be determined by and limited to participation in the constituent member.

with the exception of a federal nurses association, serves a geographic area such as a state, territory, or possession of the United States, any combination thereof, foreign country, or region of the world, where there is no other recognized constituent member.

maintains a membership that meets the qualifications in these bylaws, unrestricted by consideration of age, color, creed, disability, gender, health status, lifestyle, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

is not delinquent in paying dues to ANA.

Section 3. Responsibilities

The bylaws of each constituent member shall--

provide for the obligation of the constituent member to pay dues to ANA in accordance with policies adopted by the ANA House of Delegates.

provide for individual members of the constituent to elect delegates and alternates to the ANA House of Delegates according to provisions of these bylaws.

protect individual members' right to participate in the constituent member.

specify the obligations of individual members.

provide for disciplinary action and an appeal procedure for individual members pursuant to common parliamentary and statutory law.

provide for the recognition of disciplinary action taken by any constituent member against its individual member.

provide for official recognition of constituent associations of the constituent member.

provide that additional dues shall not be required from nor refunded to individual members transferring from another constituent member if the individual member has made full payment of dues.

Each constituent member shall-- apprise individual members of the constituent of their right to--

receive a membership card and The American Nurse.

be a candidate for ANA elective and appointive positions in accordance with these bylaws.

participate in the election of constituent member delegates to the ANA House of Delegates in accordance with these bylaws.

attend the meetings of the ANA House of Delegates, the convention, and other unrestricted ANA activities.

attend the congress of the International Council of Nurses.

Require that individual members of the constituent member abide by the Code for Nurses.

submit current bylaws and proposed amendments for review by ANA.

comply with contractual agreements and statements of understanding between the constituent member and ANA.

Section 4. Rights

Each constituent member shall be entitled to:

display a certificate of membership in ANA.

distribution of The American Nurse to its individual members.

hold voting seats in the ANA House of Delegates.

submit proposals for consideration by ANA.

submit the names of nominees for ANA elective and appointive positions in accordance with provisions of these bylaws.

a fair hearing before any disciplinary action is taken.

hold a voting seat in the Constituent Assembly.

other rights as provided under common parliamentary and statutory law.

Further Bylaws can be viewed at:

Summary of the activities at the 2000 Biennial convention:

The ANA 2000 House of Delegates agreed to:

1.Promote the use of ANA Principles for Nurse Staffing in health care agencies and educational institutions.

2.Develop and disseminate a public position paper which clearly and unequivocally states that the status of nurse staffing in the U.S. represents a public health crisis.

3.Develop a comprehensive strategy that positions registered nurses to safeguard quality care based on the recommendations of the ANA Principles for Nurse Staffing which calls for:

a.Involvement of direct care registered nurses in the decision making on staffing levels

b.Development of a product that addresses the definitions, assumptions, and methodologies of staffing and reaffirms that safe staffing is inherent in the judgement of the individual nurse.

4.Develop workplace advocacy and collective bargaining strategies that help registered nurses to address concerns about inappropriate staffing and unsafe care.

5.Promote the establishment and use of upwardly adjustable, minimal nurse-patient levels based on nursing assessment of patients' acuity, which may serve as a safety net when staffing tools are misused and /or ineffective.

6.Promote the development of a logical system for assigning severity level or risk category based on nursing assessment by the direct care Registered Nurse, current expert knowledge and recommendations from specialty nursing organizations.

7.Seek funding and promote research on the relationship between staffing and patient outcomes in collaboration with other organizations.

8.Advocate for mandatory reporting of nursing-sensitive structure, process and outcome indicators in order to monitor the adequacy of staffing in all health care facilities.

9.Advocate for federal and state legislation and regulatory guidelines that address the sufficiency of nurse staffing.

10.Identify limits, criteria and conditions to guide the appropriate utilization of registered nurses caring for their primary population or in floating off their primary unit.

11.Promote the wide dissemination and use of Assignment Despite Objection (ADO) forms as a tool to assist staff nurses.

12.Opposing the Use of Mandatory Overtime as a Staffing Solution

Link to complete HOD activity:

Next Convention June 27 - July 2, 2002, Philadelphia,PA

(Yes,I will be there and help PSNA host the event.)

ANA Member Benefits Guide & Membership application link:

American Nurses Association Political Action Committee (ANA-PAC)

The American Nurses Association Political Action Committee (ANA-PAC) is working to ensure that nurses have the best representation possible in the United States Congress. ANA had significant legislative and political gains in the 105th Congress. Legislation was enacted to provide direct Medicare reimbursement to all nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, the Community Nursing Organization demonstration project was reauthorized, and we achieved significant increases in funding for the Nurse Education Act programs and the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Through the commitment of ANA-PAC and the PAC Board of Trustees, all three nurses were reelected to the United States House of Representatives. Those nurses are Representatives Lois Capps, RN (D-CA), Carolyn McCarthy, LPN (D-NY) and Eddie Bernice Johnson, RN (D-TX). ANA-PAC also endorsed 252 candidates for Federal office in the 1998 general election (204 Democrats and 47 Republicans). An extraordinary 88 percent of those endorsed candidates were elected to the 106th Congress. This success rate is the best in ANA-PAC's 26-year history.


Only members of the State Nurses Associations and their families may be solicited for contributions.


While we have many high donors to the ANA-PAC, the average contribution is $42/year.


ANA-PAC endorses Democrats and Republicans. We are a bi-partisan PAC and work directly with both national parities to recruit and support candidates. It's not about Republicans and Democrats, but who will advocate for nurses and nursing's issues on Capitol Hill as we go into the New Millennium.


The ANA-PAC considers input from several sources when making the decision to endorse a Member of Congress, a challenger, or a candidate in an open seat race.

Full info can be found at:

Any specific questions, just post & I'll respond.

[This message has been edited by NRSKarenRN (edited April 17, 2001).]

I'll second that,

I don't believe in the easter bunny any more.

I don't believe in colorful rhetoric.

I'm with The Wild One on this one"show me the money!"and I will be happy to be involved.I had been in contact with the MNM in the state I am moving to in advance for crying out loud,but it seems that my schedule for Nursing Activism has just become open.

I will donate time and money,but not to an organization that won't tell me how either is being spent.

Your welcome to solicit me for membership if I'm welcome to know how it will be used,otherwise you have something to hide that I really don't want to know about;just go away.

That was a really intelligent response, Level12. Wildtime has been right on the $ with many of her posts. If ANA is the answer to our problems, how come California and Massachusetts have disaffilliated?

Trust me Wildtime, the MNM in no way can be compared to the ANA. At least people in the ANA know what they are doing.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Ok, Guys. I will contact our state director to obtain budget and financial information for ANA. We have nothing to hide from our members. Financial info is reviewed with delegates q 2yrs at convention time. When I attended in 86 and 92, we shot down several spending plans.

That is why in PA collective bargaining split off from the professional association because the cost to provide union representation was skyrocketing; yet RN's not involved in collective bargaining were having about $200.00 of their yearly dues going to this activity which they could not participate in.

Having been active for the past 18 years in ANA, I agree that bedside caregivers problems were not as well addressed as advanced practice....those who's voices clammer to be heard will get attention. If the average bedside RN doesn't participate, then how are we to know their problems???

I've only been out of field nursing for two years in intake/Utilization review. Never was seen as aggressive or a rabble rowser but with the way healthcare is going, and the difficulties I even have just getting Docs to sign careplans (after being ordered by facility discharge planners while pts on their service), lack of enough staff to see all the patients as much as we would like, and problems getting supplies/equipment ordered for patients, I feel that if I don't speek up now no one will be there fore me in the coming years when I reach beyond middle age.

To the Nursekaren post, sounds like the 12 items listed that the ANA plans on doing equal a bunch of committees and sub committees meeting to maybe coming to some agreement in 5yrs. Most of the items are problems that having been in nursing for yrs, what makes the year 2000 the time to address these issues. I especially like #2, preparing a disseminating a paper showing a critical nursing shortage, they are way behind since that has been covered on numerous TV and radio shows.

Where is their responsibility? What happens if none of the items come to pass? What is the timeframe? How do they propose to implement some of the staffing standards? I really don't think that getting 3 nurses in the House of Reps is going to get enough votes. Just sounds like a lot of political talk.

In Texas, we have a saying, "If you can't baffle them with your brillance, then burying them in your Bulls***." Using the words "develop" and "promote" are not action words.

Since 93% of America's nurses have never joined the ANA, exactly where do all you naysayers expect ANA's powerbase to come from?

I'll say it again. There are 2.6 MILLION RN's in this country. There are 180 THOUSAND members of the ANA. Any organization is only as strong as it's members.

To all nonmembers, exactly what do you hold the ANA accountable to with this simple math? Hold yourselves accountable instead.

ANA member

I generally refrain from doing posting like this, but.....The ANA, founded in the beginning of this century and incorporated originally in NY - was formed at a time when women were still considered in some circles as "chattel," property-and barely had the right to vote. To actually organize a group of women in that time frame must have been a tremendous event.

Forgive me fellas- but-We could all write in on the psychology of women in power, or psychology of the oppressed of women to illustrate the varying degrees of membership and representation within the ANA over the years. For what ever reasons, they may not have followed the exact path ALL of us-as MEMBERS wanted.

Well, today, in 2001 we as MEMBERS have EVERY chance to redirect our own history. WE are history in the making NOW. Our actions NOW will be the ones that will be looked upon one day and I hope it is with the reverence and respect I hold for those that blazed the trail for us.

It was in NY in 1965 that our legal right to be called REGISTERED NURSES was won. It was obtained through UNITY and a sense of dignity that we, as nurses, must reclaim. Sure, other organizations have claimed great recent success, and want to be on their own from ANA. But always remember they are building on what was GIVEN to them by those who came before us in ANA's past-not starting from scratch. Why should a near century of nurse activism be wholly discredited because of discontent with a small fraction of years [if you look at the situation as an time line equation]

Our colleagues who sit on the sidelines, yet judge, and report on the activities of others who are out there working to effect true change on our profession and ultimately patient care [that is WHY our profession exists]

will get angry when I say I think of them as "Howard Cosell Nurses", reporting play by play but never going out on the field to make a play themselves.

But they are. And that does not mean they are bad-all publicly outstanding areas of practice have their critics, their reviews, their efforts reported on. I have been slammed myself more than a few times.

But we must perhaps become theatrical-and despite some bad reviews-press on. Learn, practice, and ACT to change things for the better.

Any one of us can walk away from the bedside-or the ANA for that matter. Some of us are forced away due to disability, or other reasons. Some of us go to other areas to enact change where our strengths are better defined-But our patients cannot walk away. They do not have a choice if they are sick. They need healthcare.

What we must always remember is that our overall goal is to protect and provide safe quality patient care. That includes changing our work conditions to provide for safe nursing practice as well which I believe in this era only collective bargaining can do. We MUST take action. Lives are at stake, both ours, and our patients.

Forget the criticisms-just get involved and DO something.

History is always important to show us where we came from, but we seem to be stuck in the past. I don't care why the ANA was formed, I want to know what they are doing for nursing. Right now 18,000 members equates to 18 million dollars a year that is poured into the organization and if you got all 2.6 million to join you would be looking at 260 million dollars a year.

Show me some future plans of what they would do with the money and it would be easier to get people to join, but when the organization is still stuck on issues for 10 yrs, it shows stagnation.

Nurses need to get out of the Florence Nightgale era and empower themselves. Move up in the organization, flood the administration roles with nurses. Educate ourselves into CEO positions. There is nothing wrong with nurses making big dollars. These are ways to make changes without relying on the wheels of politics to do it for us.

Navy Nurse,

You're asking for a guarantee on the future without a confirmation of the past. What's the use? ANA has never had a chance, and never will with the little faith held by America's nurses.

I'd like to turn it around for you. What has 2.6 million nurses done for their profession over the last century?

Don't blame ANA, with it's miniscule representation and membership.

Specializes in CV-ICU.

First of all, I pay something like $520 per year to MNA.

Of that money, $55 goes to my District association, where I am involved in the practice committee (it is the only committee I am currently active in, but through the years, I've been on numerous committees there). I also get reduced fees for CEU's that my District Assoc. sponsors; I pay between $15 and $21 for CEU programs that non-district members pay $35 for. Besides that, I get a newsletter that is sent out by the District, they sponsor scholarships, and give out awards and have a national nurses banquet that is fantastic.

Also out of my MNA dues, about $88 goes to the national association- ANA. From that money I receive both AJN and The American Nurse, a magazine and a newsletter that keep me current in what is happening in ANA. I can also get , travel discounts, and several other perks I haven't used for quite some time. With my membership to ANA, I can receive "Action Alerts" as to what is happening on Capital hill that may impact nursing practice.

The rest of my dues goes to MNA, which does collective bargaining for my workplace, sends out a newsletter and encourages me to be involved in various activities in the Association. I have served on the Practice Commission at MNA, and have gone to MNA conventionsfor something like 20 of the past 21 years (I missed one when my daughter refused to be born prematurely). In those 20 years, MNA has encouraged it's members to be involved at all levels of the Association.

I have also been a delegate to the ANA convention for 10 years, and I was blown away by the Supervision and Delegation paper that was presented to the ANA convention back in 1991 (I think). That paper spoke of the risks to our licenses as more unlicensed personnel would be under our supervision. ANA saw the current shortage and problems facing the bedside nurse even back then.

MNA did an Executive Summary paper back in 1999 on "Concerns for Care" about the nursing shortage back then. Both ANA and MNA have been seeing these problems coming for several years. We have been trying to raise the nations' and also nursings' consciousness about these problems for at least 10 years. ANA has tried to get funding for nursing schools increased at the national level during this time. Instead it was cut.

I believe (and have found) that ANA is responsive to its' members as are the state associations. IF THE BEDSIDE NURSE IS NOT A MEMBER OF ANA, who does the state association speak for? By choosing not to be members, you have kept your (proverbial) heads in the sand and are suddenly taken by surprise because of the nursing shortage and mandatory overtime. I may not be happy with parts of the whole association, but BECAUSE I AM AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THIS ORGANIZATION, I work to change it from the inside. Don't knock it until you have researched what you gain as a memeber of this organization.

If California has such a great nurses association, why do they have the worst nursing shortage of any state in the union? This is just a question that has been bothering me for a while; I am not trying to be obnoxious here, I really would like to know the answer to this question. Could someone please give me an answer ?

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Wildtime, I've been on finance committees and also newsletter committes. When you start multiplying the "50 cents/ newsletter" by the number of members; figure in the time and cost for the association employees' work (plus their benefits, etc); things start to add up to quite a bit of $$$$. And if you haven't noticed there has been a change in postal rates and many newsletters are no longer able to afford to send them out.

I know you want to know where the money goes before you are involved with something. Are you also this cautious with your groceries, your church and your educational system? (sorry, I just had to throw that in- I guess I'm feeling a bit defensive because you are attacking something you have admitted to not ever being part of).

[This message has been edited by Jenny P (edited April 19, 2001).]

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