I feel the need to provide my two cents and interject among the numerous negative comments about INA / ANA here- this is a long post but addresses numerous issues brought up.
I joined INA/ANA upon graduation from nursing school. The Illinois Nurses Association has done more to protect nursing practice in Illinois than any other nursing association.
INA is one of very few organizations that has a full time lobbyist, her name is Sue Clark, and she herself a registered nurse, working at the Illlinois State Capitol everyday lobbying for our interests as Registered Nurses in Illinois. Sue Clark works as a contract lobbyist for ISAPN and IANA.
the Illinois Nurse is sent to every licensed RN in Illinois- whether or not they are a member, as a courtesy of the organization. You highlighted the recent article on CNA II legislation. Actually the push for CNA II legislation was by the Long Term Care lobbying group- Life Services Network. INA and it's Government Relations Committee fought hard, as a result the bill died in committee. I applaud you for writing letters to legislators on your own- not every nurse has the time or interest in doing that however, and that is why INA has a government relations committee and contract lobbyist that does that work.
"The INA seems to have no desire or effectiveness in protecting nurses' interests, but rather "getting along" with other organizations and entities that answer to the hospital and nursing home industries."
That statement is completely false- whether it is INA opposing a CNA II pilot program- which Long Term Care very much would love to see or INA opposing Ratio Legislation -which the California Nurses Associaton/NNOC advocates for INA works to protect nursing in Illinois. INA does sit down at the bargaining table with the physicians, hospital association etc to get things done. If INA had not worked with other groups- Advanced Practice Nursing would not have become a reality, and we'd probably still be fighting today for that.
INA and the work of other nurses across Illinois brought Illinois advanced practice nursing in 1997. Yes, IL was the last state but look at the enviornment- Chicago is home to the American Medical Association- often, the physicians have more money, and more members so who are state legislators going to listen to? However, I"m proud to say many other states have "med techs" individuals in long term care whose sole purpose it is to administer medications in long term care. Medication administration is a complex nursing assessment
- not just a task to be delegated to lesser qualified individuals
Regarding other states withdrawing from ANA- that is largely due to debates and differences of opinion on labor issues. INA remains affiliated with ANA and the organization strongly values it's association with ANA. In some states where the state association "dissafiliated" from ANA, many nurses who are members of their respective state association probably aren't even aware. ANA president Rebecca Patton highlighted one state as an example- the vote to dissafiliate occured with a membership meeting where less than 100 members were present- a very small proportion of the membership actually voted for the dissaffiliation. I was at the ANA house of delegates in 2008- Things got ugly, I believe the Michigan Delegation physically walked out of the house of delegates
I'm glad to hear that you're active in ISAPN, however I think you should consider joining INA. While ISAPN addressess only advanced practice issues, INA also addressess those issues, and INA has always been at the forefront of nursing practice in Illinois. I'd say that the value of the money I spend on INA is worth it's weight. Like I mentioned before INA was the responsible body for securing advanced practice in Illinois. This occured through lobbying by staff nurses, nurse administrators and a coalition of individuals ISAPN was founded about 4 years later after APN licensure became a reality. INA speaks for all nurses in Illinois no matter their practice role- bedside nurse, APN, educator etc.
Regarding the California Nurses Association/NNOC. Many years ago, in 1995 the california Constituent Association left ANA- I'm not sure the circumstances, I think that is an interesting research topic. Since then many other states have followed suit. Apparently, in nursing we can't all play in the same sandbox- which I think is really to our detriment and it speaks about the challenges our profession faces in the 21st century.
As long as we fight amongst ourselves in nursing- in the words of Lincoln- "A house divided against itself cannot stand." We may have some philosophical differences of opinion, however in the words of an early ANA leader "To Advance We Must Unite"