Million Nurse March Information - page 2

Information about the Million Nurse March Board of Directors Michele Jansen RN Florida Helen Cook RN Michigan Cheryl Worden LPN Arkansas Ron Phelps RN BSN Virginia The MNM came into... Read More

  1. by   rncountry
    There are issues with the ANA that many nurses feel. I have felt them myself and won't hide that. At one time I was a member of the Michigan Nurses Association. At the time I was employed at a hospital that had a union through the MNA. When I left that hospital I did not continue my membership for two reasons. One, because I didn't feel they addressed issues that needed to be addressed, and two because I was now a single parent who truly could not afford the dues. Easy for someone that has not been in that financial situation to say what is nearly $400 a year? Spend that much money on gas or cigerettes or whatever. Let me tell you that for someone stuggling to pay the rent and make sure you have the money to buy winter coats and boots for your children it is a big deal. So go ahead and crucify me for being factual. When the Million Nurse March first came into being each of us that was actively working to make an idea a reality were encouraging the others to contact our state associations, the UAN etc... Guess what the response was? New Jersey said no couldn't do it. Illinois wouldn't even answer the nurse who made inquiries, Florida was afraid we would scare the public by airing what was happening. Texas was approached by a couple nurses over a couple months and just tried to get those nurses to instead join the TNA. My experience with the Michigan Nurses Association was at first positive and I had every intention of rejoining them until after I had interviewed with Nurseweek who then called the MNA since they had told me that they would feel comfortable with notifying their membership about what was planned and linking their site to ours. After the journelist had contacted them I got an email expressing concern that the journelist had used words like "support and endorse." At the same time another nurse from the MNM was getting nasty emails regarding a post that she had made that indicated she would cross picket lines and yes this came from strong union supporters within the MNM. I decided I was not going to be involved with either group, one because they seemed to be talking out of both sides of their mouths and the other because I didn't want to be part of a group that felt it was appropriate to be nasty and threatening to another, as if every person that joined the MNM had to toe the line on unions. That was not what I felt the MNM was supposed to be all about. On the heels of this I received an email from another nurse that was incredibly personally attacking of another nurse because of her feelings about the ANA and the UAN. It was like if there were members of the MNM that did not share the strong views of some nurses in regards to unions, particularly the UAN and the ANA then the goal was to intimidate and harrass those the held other views until they either left the MNM or changed their viewpoint to fit what a minority was pushing. And we did lose members, some because they did not want to be involved with a group that was strongly pro ANA/UAN and others because they would not support nurses behaving this way towards one another. Initially I was going to leave for the latter reason. I corresponded with the woman at the Michigan Nurses Association and without going into detail I simply told her that I would not be involved with the MNM any further, I apologized for the journelists use of wording that the MNA was not comfortable with and expressed that maybe my activities would be better with the MNA by rejoining the MNA.Wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do at that point. I then received an email from another nurse that had been in this from the beginning expressing that she would like for me to think things through a bit more. I ended up calling this person after the email that was personally attacking towards another nurse for her views on the ANA/UAN. I suppose I was quite naive because I was feeling pretty shocked that someone could be so damn nasty to another for stating how they felt about the MNM being associated with the UAN. Anyway this nurse and myself began sharing different emails that we had received from a few people and something didn't quite add up right. It became apparent that there were emails that some of us were getting, while others were not. It is not worth going into all the details here. The feeling we took away from the phone conversation was that there were some that wanted very badly to put the MNM squarely in with the UAN. I can tell you that someone with the UAN had called this nurse the day or two before and they listened to what she said, but they were not particularly interested in us. But there were things being said by nurses that were very interested in that happening that those within the UAN did not back. It created a huge problem that did not need to be there. From the beginning the thought of the MNM was to be all inclusive, period. That met nurses with various points of views, organizations with various points of view, all working on common ground regarding the issues that are affecting all of us. Unfortunately there were some that did not truly want to see that happen. And yes it left a bad taste in some mouths, myself included. The last email I received from the contact at the Michigan Nurses Association indicated that a copy of a letter I had sent out and pissed off some with in regards to what had been happening had been forwarded to her. She noted it sounded like things had changed in regards to my involvement with the organization, and that I had lots of examples of nurses not working together but that hopefully the organization could get past that. She went on to note she was concerned that I "felt results were poor" when contacting the state association. I was puzzled about that part for awhile because I went back and reread the letter I had written and there was nothing in that letter to indicate that was my feelings, I went back and reread postings on this site where the discussion for the MNM had been taking place, and could find no reference that I indicated the results from my state association were poor. Poor from others perhaps, but at least Michigan was willing to entertain the idea. I had been upset that the words of support or endorse had caused the MNA to feel "concern" because I wondered what words they would like me to use. This last email from the MNA goes on to say that she is certainly with me in feeling that nurses need to come together with a voice that lets the public know about nurses and their patients, with the caveat that she does not think that ONE MORE nursing organization is the answer, but she certainly understands the arguments. This is closed with, do keep us posted and do consider joining the MNA. I felt and still do feel why do they want me to keep them posted if they don't feel another group is going to be useful? I wondered who had sent her a copy of a letter that was internal to those that had been involved with the MNM idea? And from what reference did she find that I had said the results were poor from the association? If anything I was feeling that at least Michigan had been willing to entertain the notion whereas others were dead set against it. I still do not have the answers to those questions, nor do I expect to. The MNM has not rejected the state associations or the ANA. The state associations rejected us. As far as the national level of the ANA they have not been approached yet. So I can not say how they feel. Yes, someone from the Ohio State Association did express interest and frankly with all the disorganization going on at the time I don't believe anyone had ever gotten back with her. I did not remember that this person had expressed interest because at the time we were doing things on a state by state level and Ohio was not my state. A part of Pennsylvania expressed that they could support this, and they are planning a march on May 5, 2001 as originally we had all wanted. Kudos to them and to the nurse that kept that going.
    I tell everyone that what has caused the problems in the first place was a few nurses that came into the process of the MNM in the beginning that pushed hard in regards to the UAN/ANA, basicly pushing the agenda that the UAN/ANA was the be all and end all. It pushed people away when we were trying to make this as inclusive as we possibly could feeling that it would be good for nurses and for our patients to work together for a change. When I see postings by those that are strongly pro ANA that tell me that what I want to do is insanity, that reeks of arrogence and sarcasm towards those that do not share that persons viewpoint on the ANA it makes me feel that the ANA is not for me. When I receive email from a nurse that states someone else needs mental help because she has an opposing viewpoint on the ANA, I can't help but wonder is this the normal way of doing business? Is this what is encouraged by ANA to their membership? When I am directed to go to the ANA site to see what legislation they have helped pass and all I can find is legislation that is for advanced practice nurses I wonder if they are hearing the bedside nurse. I, like so many others, am dismayed that the association that purports to want to represent me tells me I am not a professional because I don't hold a BSN. Somehow I am sure someone will tell me that is why I am 'not getting it'. Because obviously I can not have a grip on what is happening to my chosen career field without a BSN, anymore than can the mailman even though his wife is a nurse. After all I am just an ADN nurse and he is just a mailman. And it is just that attitude that has set up nurses to go at each others throats for as long as I have been doing this, and can be traced back 40 years at least. It is just that attitude that encourage the 'eating our young mentality' It isn't even our new grads we do it to, it is anyone we don't like, that is new to a unit, you name it, the excuses come in many forms.
    It has not been those within the MNM that stayed true to the original purpose of the gourp that started this whole controversy. It was those that were within the MNM at the start that seemed to feel the only way to go was through the UAN/ANA. When the brakes were put on and we said no this is not the idea, then those that we vocal about that not happening were vilified. Myself included. When anything was posted about the MNM than someone else would post no, it's the ANA you need. And by the way it is one of the most prolific posters regarding the ANA that started this whole damn controversy in the first place. And yes I have posted back to those things. Don't tell me to go look at the wonderful legislation that the ANA has passed, for me to see that the only thing on that area of the website is legislation regarding advanced practice nurses, but nothing in regards to the bedside nurse and expect me to say what a great job the ANA is doing. When I went searching in regards to what all that legislation met actually I find that the NLN site notes the ANA has 180,000 members. Out of 2.6 million RNs. Frankly I was shocked, fully expected it to be more. Is it inappropriate to wonder why? Is it inappropriate for nurses, rather it is those within the MNM or not, to feel that the association has not been responsive to the issues we are grappling with? If I question I am badmouthing. If I frankly state that it is inappropriate for nurses to personally attack and bully others for holding views different than their own I am labeled a horizontal hypocrite. Not once have I questioned someones mental health because they did not feel the way I feel. I don't say that supporting the ANA is insanity, but Tim feels entirely comfortable in saying the idea of a march is insanity. To equate me and others that feel like I do with skinheads and anarchists that seek to pull down everything around themselves. To repeatedly refer to me and others like me as bra burners. It is not even the ANA or its pursuit of their agenda that is upsetting, it is members that behave like this with an elistist attitude, that refuse to leave room for anything but the ANA. What I have had to do is be able to separate the personal views and often nasty personal attacks of those that are simply members of the ANA, and the ANA itself.
    In the end all I can say is the same thing I have been saying. The MNM is a vehicle in which the many varied voices in nursing can come together for common cause. That vehicle is available for all who want it. I leave it at that.
  2. by   rncountry
    Sorry for the mistake jt. It was my understanding that the CNA was larger than that, my error.
  3. by   rncountry
    From the CNAs website they indicate they are the second largest Registered Nurse Organization in the country but only have 30,000 nurses? Something doesn't jibe here. Need to go to the source I guess.
  4. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    I read these posts and i find a common thread...Each of you is RIGHT!! There is no wrong on these posts..merely different perspectives of history. History lives in the mind of the historian. It is useful, yes, but will paralyze us in the long run if we dwell there. All posters are RIGHT with their individual solutions. None are wrong. The bottom line for all nurses now is to understand our history, but create a NEW future. Creation occurs in the present moment only, not in the past and not in the future. The challenge for us all is to CREATE, not destroy; live in the moment, not in the past; to acknowledge diversity of thought, not to castigate others for not sharing ours. Our financial, personal, work, career lives hang in the balance here. What would our nursing lives look like if we created something new????

    regards to all

  5. by   Tim-GNP
    Now that you're down from the cross, RNCOUNTRY, what will your next task be? People like you who play the martyr, quite frankly, sicken me.

    The debate over ADN/BSN is quite legitimate. We need to have one degree that designates entry into professional practice- just so you can't twist this, like you do everything else in this site, I will type it in caps: A BSN DOES NOT MAKE SOMEONE A BETTER NURSE THAN SOMEONE WITH AN ADN- HOWEVER THE CONCEPT OF HAVING ONE DEGREE THAT DESIGNATES ENTRY INTO PRACTICE IS A HALLMARK OF ANY PROFESSION. I am sure you will have that twisted by tonight, though.

    You give a beautiful portrait of the 'coal miners daughter' who is trying to provide for a family and can't afford to belong to your nurses association otherwise you will have to sell Mary into slavery to pay the bill at the Mercantile- otherwise nasty Nellie Olson will talk about us in Miss Beatle's schoolhouse and make fun of us---bull. I have bills too, but I also have a profession, and the only way to propell it further and improve conditions... even for so-called 'elitists' such as myself.

    Insofar as the mail man thing... what a joke... nurses need to be led by that NURSES- be they elitist or bedside, or sickroom, or obstetric, or WHATEVER label you wish to give them. The development of nursing has been hindered far too long by non-nurses- Nursing needs to claim what belongs to them, and be willing to pay financially for our political agenda. It will help us today, and secure the profession for tomorrow, or are you self-centered to not care about who will inherit nursing? I for one hope that I can leave nursing better than I found it- for tomorrow's generation of nurses.
  6. by   el
    I read through these posts and I think that all of you are doing the same thing....
    Finding one piece of information to use against an entire idea. It is no different to crucify those who believe in the MNM for their ideals than to crucify the ANA for not doing enough. I would bet the ideals and purpose of the ANA are similar to those of the MNM, and both are right. I think membership in the ANA is something that we should all do, because it will give the ANA the power and voice that it needs to make changes. The ANA is attempting changes for advanced practice because I would bet that they are the people that join, it makes sense. The MNM is attempting changes for bedside nurses, because we (I am a bedside diploma rn), don't join our National Organization. Eventually, MNM will be a national organization, and I dare say it, you may need dues, and you will attempt change focusing on the desires of your members. The infighting among people with different ideas should be expected, it is how new and better ideas are formed. The personal attacks and insults could be left out though, I think you discredit yourself when you make personal insults, I also think the excuse of cost to join a professioanl organization is played out. If a change is going to happen ever, it will cost us. To march will cost people something as well. I believe in both organizations, I come to this site whenever I can, I get great information, I copy alot of the articles and bring them to work and hang them on our bulletin boards. I will March, and I will continue to believe that membership in a professional organization by all in our profession will create change. I actually think that eventually we will have a meeting of the minds in our profession and change will happen, possibly by all of us being in the same organization, maybe it will be called Million Nurses Association. You know what they say "a rose by any other name...".
  7. by   natalie
    wildtime and rncountry-Post your critiques on ANA, but the least you could do is inform yourselves with some up-to-date information re: an association of which neither of you is a member.

    Again I suggest you revisit the site. Here's a start.
  8. by   rncountry
    Thank you Charles for putting things into perspective. Yes, let us look towards the future and create each day.
    El, you gave me something to think about and I always appreciate that.
  9. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    A word of caution to posters to prevent some misunderstandings...Each organization has its seperate mission, vision, goals and philosophy. Each targets a different audience. For example, the AACN is a clinical nursing specialty organization with no political agenda in its organizational charter. Sigma Theta Tau International is an educational organization with charter materials specific to its goals. ANA is a political organization by charter and is sanctioned by the federal government to conduct lobbying on the behalf of nurses. There are many other examples. Be careful to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Choose the organization(s) that best fits your needs. The ideal is clearly to maintain membership in your clinical specialty, political and educational organizations.

  10. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by wildtime88:
    [B]i admit that ANA has a new face....
    i applaud them for the efforts that they are putting forth ...i do not agree with a few of the stances that they have taken on some issues. but that would be normal to say of any political party. i do not really believe that political ideaology has a place in an associations that are dedicated to helping it's members .....i ma going to continue to watch and actually listen and research to see if the ANA is asking it's members what they want to have addressed. also i am going to observe it is more importantly what the majority of the members want. [quote]

    so did you take part in the nationwide survey the ANA did this year where it asked those questions of direct-care RNs all over the country - members AND non-members? I posted the link to that survey here a few times. Any RN could have made their voice heard in it. The results of that survey from thousands of RNs were broadcasted by 100 news stations the day after they were released & the results of that survey were utilized in the packed U.S. Senate Hearing on the Nurses Shortage last month.

    Thousands of RNs nationwide, members as well as non-members, said staffing, mandatory OT, lack of respect, dismal working conditions & financial compensation were the issues & thats what the ANA brought to the hearing. (The Senator's statements & the testimonies are posted here somwhere.) We will have input into legislation that comes from that hearing - and it will be legislation that not only helps us members but helps all nurses nationwide.

    So if, as you say, politics has no place in this struggle, and the MNM event has no place in this struggle, what exactly do you suggest does?? You keep saying: "i for one am not going to hop in my car and go to washington to beg and plead for something that as a group we can accomplish on our own." But we're still waiting for you to tell us HOW you would have us accomplish it all on our own.

    The fact that a United States Senate Hearing was convened because of what WE have been saying & doing in our struggle to save us & our profession speaks volumes. It seems to me that we are well on our way to some real solutions because WE are out there making them pay attention & WE are demanding those solutions but you seem to be discounting this.

    What other suggestions do you have?

    I agree we have the numbers to move mountains - if RNs would just get up & push -RNs going to Washington DC to testify before Congress in order to get some resoultion to our issues - and Congress not only listening but acting on that & working with us to reach a resolution is a major accomplishment but since you dont we should be in Washington DC & you dont think our efforts now are effective, I'd like to hear your ideas on HOW you think we should proceed.

    Give us at least one suggestion.
  11. by   rncountry
    I, too, would like to hear one suggestion as to what nurses should do. I get the news updates from the ANA(contrary to popular belief I do not despise them, I just do not agree with everything) I participated in the survey because what nurses have to say needs to be heard! The survey was for all nurses not just ANA members and the results showed exactly what gets discussed on this board. Yes, it is my thought that nurses rallying together can make a difference. To say that demonstrations cannot negates a history in this country full of ones that did. The labor law changes in the early 1900's did not happen because somebody up in Washington thought of it, they happened because of massive unrest and in some cases because of individuals that stood up against large companies risking literally, life and limb. Child labor laws came out of that and as a side benefit we began to look at children as something other than miniture adults. Womans sufferage came out of activism, so did civil rights, again with people willing to risk life and limb for it. Major social change has often taken place because of protests, activism and yes gathering in Washington. Can you honestly tell me that the major protests that took place in the late 60's and early 70's had no impact on the social structure of this country? Regardless of whether you believe the changes were good or bad, changes occured and occured rapidly. Baby Boomers have had a huge impact on this country and when they are at the point that nursing care is something they will need they will also impact the healthcare community and we had better be prepared. Ideas of how to handle a crisis that only promises to get worse are welcome. There are many intelligent, talented people in all the various organizations for nursing, I simply cannot help but wonder what would happen if we tapped into that talent as a collective representation of nursing? To take the best that each has to offer and run with it. All we have to do is to look at what has been successfully been done by different organizations and put the pieces of each part together. By doing this on a national level we could have the ability to affect nursing and healthcare delivery everywhere. As jt has pointed out the NYSNA has had many successes, there are things going on in Oregon that would prove useful on a national scale, much of the platform that you see for the MNM is taken directly from legislation that has passed in California. As a national group the ANA has a structure in place and the ability to lobby, they have done a great deal to overcome issues and perceptions in the past. If we look to the good that each of our organizations have done and utilize them towards even greater good we have the ability to do something that has never been done before. At least not by nursing. The issues that are facing nursing in this country are not only here, they are global. I have corresponded with nurses in Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia. (Love the internet) While their systems of healthcare are different than ours in structure the issues that we are dealing with are the same issues that they are dealing with. The infighting we see here is not indiginous to us. I can't help but think we have an opportunity to make an impact not only in this country, but a model for others to follow. What that takes is working together for common goals. Difficult yes, but also doable.
    I would be interested in hearing ideas from you wildtime, because while you note many problems I don't see solutions. I do not believe that any one group has all the answers, that includes the MNM. But think what we could do if the answers that have proven successful in various areas of the country where brought together under one banner what we could accomplish! Your input is welcome.
  12. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]in this did i ever once see of feel the need to go begging to anyone for help for a problem that we as a profession can take care of on our on????

    not in so many words but you do suggest getting all together & demanding improvements. Demanding it of whom?
    Your administrators? And when they say "yeah, right,ha!" , what then?

  13. by   rncountry
    Do not for a minute think that if what you are proposing came to pass that the only thing that would occur is for corporates to decide to take people off the streets and give them some task oriented quickie training and pay them crap wages then replace nurses with them. Why do I think that? Because it is already happening that is why. It is precisely for this reasonthat one of the proposels of the MNM is to make it illegal for someone without a license to perform nursing tasks. In many areas of the country there are unlicensed people passing medications, inserting foleys, and NG tubes, taking care of patient TF and the list goes on. It is done as a cost saving measure without regard for either the patients safety or for the license of the nurse that is responsible ultimately for the care that patient receives, appropriate or not. And all we have to do is to come out and tell the public that this whole thing is about money and you will turn them off totally and lose the public support that we need badly. While I do not believe that nursing wages reflect what we do and the responsiblity that we hold, we do have to realize that there are many many Americans out there that make substancially less than we do. We take care of many patients that will never attain the wages that we have now. We can argue quite competantly that is for lack of education or whatever, but the fact still remains that they look at a nursing wage as pretty damn good. My own family sees no reason for me to bellyache about wages. I think that the majority of us know that wages are part of the equation but it is not the largest part of the it. If it was then the hospitals that offer those big sign on bonuses would have staff, because for many people even after taking off the top what Uncle Sam gets its still a nice chunk of change. Yet that type of thing is not bringing nurses to them in droves. The places that are better staffed have a work environment that allows nurses to do the job they are educated to do. They don't use mandatory staffing. In the host hospital I am working at the nurses have fled and some to the my place of employment because there is so much use of mandatory overtime. Where I work now for the last three months we do not. Trust me it is a huge selling point for staffing.
    The idea of a central meeting place is one that while I like the idea of it being easier for nurses to get there, I don't see how we could meet with federal legislators. I doubt seriously that they are going to fly there to meet with us, and even if they did I am sure someone would complain about using taxpayer funds for them to do so. You can bet they certainly wouldn't do it on their nickel. And yes, I do think these issues should be addressed on a federal level. I know there are many out there that do not feel that way, but change only happens by pushing for it. I have no intention of begging for anything. I intend on giving a realistic picture of what is going to happen if things do not change. I believe the statistics are 20% unfilled RN postitions by 2015. Wonder what the vacancy for LPNs and CNAs will be. As I said before this is not an issue that is hitting just the states, it is global and is only predicted to get worse without intervention. If only spending money would fix it then this country should have excellant schools, and no welfare rolls. The money that has been more or less thrown in the direction of these two things have not resulted in either of those results. Throwing money at nursing is not going to fix what is broke either.