Professional Memberships? - page 2

Just many of you belong to Professional Nursing Organizations? I am a recent graduate, and held a student membership. I'm wondering if I should renew as a full member now that I'm... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <<Ooooops! In the above post, I made a "typo." I meant to say that some people believe you should NOT maintain your membership if you disagree with the organization's stance on some of the issues. I believe that you SHOULD maintain your maintain your membership. >>

    You can fix a typo by going back to the post, clicking the "edit" button beneath it, changing what you need to need to change & then click "save".
  2. by   -jt
    <I am curious about unions. There is no such thing where I live and would be interested in what they do and what they have accomplished for their nurses.>

    There are unions in every state - even in the right to work ones. But the employer-friendly laws in those states make it harder.

    Joining a union is different from joining any other organziation because you dont join individually outside of the job. You join as a collective, united group at your workplace. It can be all the employees together, or just the RNs, or everybody except the RNs. It is the workers decision to make themselves as each group. The kind of union you go with depends on whether or not all the employees want to be unionized together or if the RNs want to be in an RN-only union. In many facilities, the RNs are unionized with their RN state association if it has a labor union branch, & all the other employees are unionized together with a healthcare workers union.

    After deciding to unite, the group of workers shops around the different unions representing similar groups, compares & evaluates, chooses which one they want to become part of, & then votes on whether or not to do so. Its illegal for the employer to interfer since it is a workers federal right to join any union, but the employer will try its best to prevent that from happening so it wont have to share any power or control with its employees & so to prevent the employees from having a legal say in anything it does. The labor laws in right-to-work states favor the employer & make it easier for the employer to get away with this.

    There is a lot of info about the subject of unions for nurses on this website, so doing a search on unions or union contracts here will give you more answers.

    In the 1930's, RNs had to give their whole lives over to the job, lived at the hospital, and had ratios of up to 1 RN:80 pts in the wards. Nurses unions fought for improved working environment conditions & a 5 day work week & ended the 7 day a week 12-24 hr shift that was the profession of nursing. 8 hr shifts 5 days a week then became the standard for the profession & applied to ALL nurses - not just the union RNs who fought for it.

    In 1966, union nurses in NYC took an action that again changed the face of nursing all across the country. Prior to that, RNs earned just $3,000/yr, were not paid for vacations, holidays, continuing ed tuition, education, or experience, etc. By the time these union RNs finished their effort, not only were RNs in NYC reaping the benefit but their successful action had set a new NATIONAL standard of compensation for working nurses which continues to this day from coast to coast. The story was posted here at:

    In the 1980's union RNs fought for a shorter workweek -established flextime/12 hr shifts 3 days a week & it became a NATIONAL trend that became available to all working nurses - not just the union nurses who started it.

    In their contracts today, union nurses are obtaining staffing ratios, bans on forced overtime, improved salaries & benefits, recruitment/retention incentives, retirement benefits, & workplace environment improvements. They are taking these to their state legislatures & getting laws passed state by state to apply them to ALL nurses - not just the union nurses who fight for it. They have gotten these issues into the news & into the publics consciousness, underscoring the importance of it all as it pertains to pt care & pt safety. The improvements they make trickle down to non-union facilities who need to keep up to remain in the market for nurses, so the work that union nurses are doing, supporting & paying for with their dues, benefits more than just themselves, and always has.

    If youre interested in the history of nurses & unions, the largest, oldest, & most successful RN union is the New York State Nurses Assoc & it is the one that has been used as the model by most others healthcare workers unions. There is a book about these RNs, their unionizing efforts & what that has done for the profession of nursing in this country over the past 100 yrs. Its titled "Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future - The First 100 Years" by Julie Pavri, RN. If you cant find it in your bookstore, send an email to:

    Sources of nurses unions & more info can be found at:
    Last edit by -jt on Sep 27, '02
  3. by   -jt
    <unions.....would be interested in what they do and what they have accomplished for their nurses.>

    This may not be in the right thread since the topic is Professional Organizations - not LABOR organizations, but in addition to getting laws passed in our states that benefit nursing - like staffing ratios & bans on forced overtime, union RNs are making vast improvements in their own workplaces. To get an idea of what unions RNs do & what we are accomplishing in the workplace, view a sample of some of the contracts & improvements union RNs of the New York State Nurses Assoc have negotiated at their workplaces in the past year:

    Staten Island University Hospital Nurses Approve New Contract - Abolishes mandatory overtime & guarantees safe staffing levels

    St. Catherine's RNs approve contract that limits overtime and ensures safe staffing

    Nurses at Presbyterian Approve Amazing Breakthrough Contract -

    Westchester Med RNs approve landmark contract

    New Saint Vincents Contract Sets the Pace

    Mount Sinai nurses approve new contract

    Samaritan Nurses Approve New Contract

    Staten Island Nurses Win Dramatic 25% - 30% Salary Increase

    This is what being part of a strong, RN controlled union for RNs is all about. All of the things you see in these contracts are becoming the new standard, are used to support our legislation at the state capitol and trickle down to benefit ALL RNs, even those in non-union facilities, thanks to the efforts of our union RNs.

    This union happens to also be our state nurses assoc & professional organization, so even if an RN works in a place where the RNs are not unionized or are part of a different union, she can still be a member of the professional side of this organization - she just isnt a member of the union branch - so she pays less membership dues.
    Last edit by -jt on Sep 27, '02
  4. by   SoniaNurseRep

    It's your Profession...oops, I mean OUR PROFESSION.

    Many of us do not have the time or desire to fight for the Profession of Nursing, but it is reassuring to know that there are people out there making a stand.

    Stay involved, be informed, have a voice!!
  5. by   -jt
    <Many of us do not have the time or desire to fight for the Profession of Nursing, but it is reassuring to know that there are people out there making a stand. >

    Yeahhhhh but itd be a helluvalot EASIER to make the changes we need in this profession & it would be a lot MORE EFFECTIVE if there were MORE of us taking a stand of some sort & making our voices heard in some way.
  6. by   wishingmary

    What an informative and enthusiastic reply. We have unions in our state. I was just talking about nursing unions. This summer when I do my just-for-fun nursing reading, I'll definitely take a look at these resources you mentioned. I printed this page out and will clip out your reply about nursing organizations and nursing unions from the other comments. Nursing Organizations like ANA and our state nursing associations are our political voice but unions our grass root voice? Please e-mail me or tell me where I can find you.
    Last edit by wishingmary on Sep 29, '02
  7. by   -jt
    <tell me where I can find you. >

    Uh-oh.... am I in trouble again???
  8. by   -jt
    <Nursing Organizations like ANA and our state nursing associations are our political voice but unions our grass root voice?>

    But my state association IS my union so it has a bit of both voices.

    As my professional organization, my state assoc works in the political arena & media to educate the public as to our role & value, works to advance the nursing profession, advance the employment conditions of nurses, and advance the quality care of pts in my state. So does the ANA - but on the national level. In the education arena both work to advance nurses. But as my union too, my state assoc also works in my individual workplace to ensure that I have an equal voice at that facility in decisions that affect my practice, my work environment, & my conditions of employment.

    Today, many other kinds of trade unions that also represent RNs and other healthcare workers are collaborating with the ANA & state assocs to get the political job done together.
    Last edit by -jt on Sep 28, '02