The POWER Of ONE VOICE - page 2

Power of One Voice Newly elected ANA president shares her thoughts about nursing-and her hope By Kay Bensing, MA, RN Advance For Nurses When you throw your hat into the ring as a candidate... Read More

  1. by   DelGR
    The ANA also has it's union arm, the UAN. I have always been a member of the ANA, and thereby a member of the state constituiency. I think all nurses should support the ANA and be a member. When nurses' view points about a nursing matter in this nation is asked for, the ANA is called on.
  2. by   Jenny P
    Originally posted by lee1
    Then what is the APN, NP or whatever you call them locally?
    Advanced Nurse Practicioner. I have belonged to the ANA for many years and this is the focus of what I saw them concentrating on over the last decade. The staff nurse's problems seemed to be just that-----their own-----
    Middle managers did nothing to help them, made them worse
    ANA allowed the problems to escalate. Only now, do they seem to be making them a priority. BUT, a little to late, I am afraid.
    Okay, I'm awake again so will continue this discussion. I have been a delegate or alternate for the past 10 to 12 years to the ANA conventions (and a delegate to my state convention for 22 of the past 23 years-- I missed the convention right after my dtr's. birth) and have gone to each of these conventions as a staff nurse. So I'm going to tell you just the stuff that I remember being involved in at the national level of the association, not the just the media information. Unfortunately, I can't remember all of the dates of these different activities because I'm not quite that organized.

    I do remember going to a convention back in 1990 or '91 and learning about the Nursing Practice Act. ANA was giving information about suggested state legislation for the nursing practice act, the nursing disciplinary diversion act, and the prescriptive authority act (okay, so this last topic is dealing with advanced practice, sorry). I was bowled over by the workshop and realized the importance of working within the legal limits of my Nurse Practice Act and what my rights and limits were. I have been very interested in my Nurse Practice Act ever since and have served on my state associations' Nursing Practice Commission (and even chaired it). I was involved in a Nursing Practice Summit at Washington DC in which staff nurses from across the country came together and discussed the deplorable state of staff nursing (back in 1994 or'95-- I was on crutches with a knee injury at the time). I was astounded to hear nurses being only 1 of 2 or 3 RNs on a 35 to 40 bed unit, with ventilated patients, even back then! We were dealing with UAP's back then and problems with delegation and supervision, remember? And ANA came out with powerful statements in opposition of UAP's-- (I can't remember the correct abbreviations for this bunch; RCTs or PCAs or something weird); these were supposed to be unlicensed assistive personnel under the direction of physicians; remember? They never came into being, thanks to ANA.

    ANA pushed for and implemented their Principles for Nursing Staffing in 1996. Unfortunately, that wasn't a success because the principles were shot down by other changes in the health care arena-- managed care and higher acuity sidelined ANA's ideas of staffing units according to HPPD (hours per patient day)--in other words, ANA was pushing for staffing according to patient ACUITY, not just the nurse patient RATIOS that CNA and PSNAP want. What good is 1 nurse to 4 patients when the four patients might all be extremely high acuity and should maybe staffed at 1:2 instead of 1:4? I work CV-ICU, I am now often caring for patients that would have been dead 3 or 4 years ago, they are that ill. No matter what type of unit most of you are currently working on, I know your patients are also much sicker than they were back then. Maybe if ANA had more staff nurses as members back then, this might have occurred, who knows?

    Okay, more recently, we can talk about the needlestick and blood exposure lobbying that ANA did at the Capital that led to the changes in OSHA's policies on needlestick injuries and the vast changes that have occurred in our workplaces. Or the development of the UAN. Or the Workplace Advocacy Program for non-unionized nurses (and those in right to work states). Check these things out. ANA HAS been there, and is working on a daily basis for the staff nurse; the nurse at the bedside; and for nurses who are not at the bedside also.

    These are some of the things that I consider important for the staff nurses, and that I have seen and been involved in at the national level of ANA. I think I've rambled long enough now. I could go on if you want more information, just ask, okay?
  3. by   -jt
    <<The nursing crisis is primarily at the bedside and l haven't seen as much concern for this problem as l have for our titles and technicalities>>

    << like l said l am not up to date on ANA>>

    Your second quote (not being up to date) might have something to do with why you havent seen much about staff RNs. As you say, you do not have much recent info about the association so I can understand how you might not know about the changes we've made in it. But is it fair to be blasting a group of nurses for not doing something & then later admit you dont have current info on what they are doing at all? Maybe its time to read up.

    A lot of what the ANA does is in the legislature. The organizations job is primarily in DC to get the laws passed that will change the conditions at your bedside. If you look at the Governmental Affairs page at the ANA website, you can read about all of the ANA-supported & ANA-written bills that have been submitted to Congress for Safe Patient Care (national ban on forced ot, improved workplace conditions), Quality Care (safe staffing numbers), Nurse Safety, Nurse Retention, hospital work enviornments, LTC staffing ratios, workplace safety, and the condemnation of foreign recruitment as a way to avoid improving working conditions that are driving US RNs from the job, just to name a few that affect the staff RN.

    All of these bills & the lobbying we are doing (and paying for) to get them passed into law are designed specifically for the staff RN at the bedside - which is what the majority of our membership is.

    There is MUCH more happening than just the Nurse Reinvestment Act (which, btw, ALSO has provisions for improved working conditions & nurse RETENTION initiatives -- & is not just about nursing education, loan forgiveness, & recruitment of new students). At the website, you can also read the texts of ANA research that proved a relationship between better RN staffing and better pt outcomes - which has been confirmed by other independent research studies this year. You can read testimonies ANA leaders and staff RN members have given before Congress on these issues - every single one of them stresses the importance of RETENTION & WORKING CONDITIONS & the fact that to reverse the "shortage" at the bedside "we MUST start FIRST with the work environment". And that is the focus of the bills we've gotten into Congress.

    If you need a quick update on what the organization is doing, there are ANA press releases, articles written by ANA leaders & members, texts of newspaper, press conferences, & TV interviews, and hearing testimonies that you can read there which ANA leaders & staff RN members have given - again stressing to all the unsatisfactory work environment as being THE MAIN CAUSE of the exodus of nurses & the reasons why we must have national laws to improve it because if left up to the hospital administrators, nothing will ever change. Ive posted so many of these items on this website that I dont know how anybody can read all that & still say we arent doing anything about the nurse at the bedside. The nurse at the bedside is THE main focus. Every issue comes right back to that.

    Im working so hard in that organization for the issues of the staff RN at the bedside (I am one) & I see so many other ANA leaders & ANA members doing the same that it can be kind of disheartening to hear another nurse say she doesnt see us doing anything --- and then hear that she hasnt even looked to find out before putting us down.

    The Nurse Reinvestment Act with its provisions for new nurse recruitment, incentives and initiatives to retain experienced nurses & to improve working conditions didnt come from outerspace. It came from the work the ANA & its members did & paid for. As did most of the current legislation & media attention.

    When the bills for a national ban on forced ot for ALL nurses, & national laws for safe staffing & the rest -- for ALL nurses -- are passed, we'll know where that came from too.
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 5, '02
  4. by   -jt
    <Interesting. $275 is the NATIONAL ANA dues including my state dues. How is yours higher??>

    Dues vary depending on state assoc & what ITS MEMBERS VOTED FOR. At the ANA convention last year, the members of all the state assocs got together & voted to increase their dues to the ANA to about $185/yr. That means that out of the total dues we pay our state assoc, $185/yr goes to the ANA. Anything over that amount stays with the state assoc. The total amount is decided by a vote of the members of the state assoc. Your state assoc members decided on a total of $275 - which includes the ANA dues in that. Non-union members of my state assoc pay about $300/yr total but our collective bargaining members voted at convention to increase our own dues from 1.2% of the lowest regional base salary to 1.6% because we wanted to expand our union services. In my region of the state, the lowest base salary is about $52,000. 1.6% of that is my state assoc dues because I am in the union branch too. The same $185/yr goes to the ANA - the rest stays with our state assoc & comes back to us in service.
  5. by   -jt
    <They have to put bedside nurse in places of power in their organization.>

    "THEY" dont put anybody in power. The MEMBERS VOTE for who the members themselves want to put in power. The problem in the past was that while the majority of the membership of the ANA is staff RNs, staff RNs didnt run for leadership positions. We can point the finger at the leaders all we want, but it still comes back to the fact that staff RNs have LET the power slip by them. Im guilty of it too. Ive been an RN for 20 yrs, a member of my state assoc & ANA for 18 of them but only active & involved in either for the last 8 yrs or so. The first 10, I didnt even think about it & knew nothing of what was happening in my profession. I went to work & went home to take care of my family. I didnt give a thought to the ANA - never saw them at my bedside so out of sight out of mind. I did see my state assoc there so I thought more of them but it was a fleeting thought in my busy life......

    Until we were getting downsized & restructured out of jobs everyday & the AMA started a big push in Congress to fill our empty places with less expensive "REGISTERED care technicians" -- basically LICENSED uaps that would provide the nursing care but report to & be under the control of the MD. What they were trying to do was re-create the nursing profession of 100 yrs ago - and knock RNs out of it altogether.

    I realized then that if nurses didnt take a stand for themselves, others would take control & put us out of existence. That was my wake up call - the very real possibility of the American Medical Assoc getting Congress to pass national laws that would allow 1 charge RN on the floor for supervision & medications with pt care provided by UAPS with a license. The hospital would have no need for nurses anymore & God forbid if I had to ever be a pt. The major fight that the ANA & its members waged against the powerful AMA (and funded with RN membership dues) prevented the creation of this new national RN replacement & preserved the nursing profession. Unable to get away with creating RCTs, hospitals had to stop the mass lay offs & start bringing back RNs. And thats the first time I saw how the ANA affects me at the bedside while it works in DC.

    Before then most staff RNs were like me -- oblivious. Thats been changing & there are at least 4 staff RNs on the ANA Board of Directors & more in other leadership positions now. Instead of just complaining about what isnt being done for them, more staff RNs are waking up, getting involved & grabbing the reigns. Thats why there has been a shift of focus in the ANA these last few years. Staff RNs arent sitting back so much anymore.

    Brings me to the ANA presidents thoughts:

    ".....the power of one voice," ...... "This means one strong voice for nursing. It doesn't mean that we all agree and that we are all in lockstep. It means that our common ground is so powerful and so clearly recognized that we speak with one common voice. It means that we have a common frame of reference to address the problems nursing faces.".........
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 5, '02
  6. by   Youda
    Whatever problems the ANA has had in the past (real or perceived), isn't going to help the NOW and the FUTURE if that is always used as an excuse to not join NOW. That is so self-defeating! Hey, I won't join ANA because they didn't do what I thought they ought to do 5 - 10 years ago. Well, DUH. The past is past. Get over it. Move on. Help to make the changes NOW.

    As for the high dues, I'm pretty sure that if one million new members joined, the ANA wouldn't need as much from every member to represent all nurses (members or not) in Washington.
  7. by   Jenny P
    Last year was the first time the ANA national dues were increased in 10 years. The dues were increased also at my state association level last year for the first time in 10 years too, (and I ended up voting FOR both of those dues increases after I studied the budgets of both levels. Nothing else I've been involved in has held their costs at the same level for that long.
  8. by   -jt
    <Whatever problems the ANA has had in the past (real or perceived), isn't going to help the NOW and the FUTURE if that is always used as an excuse............ The past is past. Get over it. Move on. Help to make the changes NOW.>

    Couldnt have said it better. And for those who dont get involved in anying & use the excuse that the ANA "isnt paying attention to the staff RN", when they havent even looked at the ANA in years & have no idea what it & its members are actually doing, I suggest they get themselves updated.

    Borrowed from another post:

    <<<........"Perhaps the most pressing issue is the crisis in nurse staffing and the growing shortage of nurses, something the ANA has long been sounding the alarm about to policy-makers, the media and the general public. I want you to know that ANA delivers the same message in every forum. That message is: that while we laud and encourage recruitment efforts - they will ultimately fail unless we focus attention - and resources - on retention of nurses. And in order to improve retention - working conditions must improve.
    Nurses MUST be recognized and respected for their professional expertise. We MUST receive better compensation and benefits......And finally, in order for retention efforts to be successful, employers must change their thinking about nurses - they must understand that we are an asset, not an expense
    . They must understand that our skills and experience make the critical difference in achieving quality patient outcomes and that without nurses - their institutions are merely buildings full of empty beds!.............."
    Barbara Blakeney, RN
    President of ANA>>>>>

    Its not just words. There are many things going on in the ANA to see that it all happens. Staff Nurses can sit on the sidelines complaining about the mistakes of the past & refusing to believe that the organization & its members have learned from them & changed, or they can get involved in the new organization & steer their profession to the future. Their choice. But if they choose to sit silently on the sidelines - whether in the organization or outside of it - and do nothing wherever they are, then they have no business complaining about how the rest of us are actively trying to make a difference.

    ANA update:
    President Blakeney's presentation:

    CEO Stierle's slide presentation:

    Annual Stakeholder's report 2001:

    ANA Legislative Activity:

    RN Congressional Testimonies - The Nurse Staffing Crisis:

    GET INVOLVED! A grass roots effort:
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 15, '02