What in the world does the ANA do? - page 5

an update for those of you not involved & wondering....... In the past two years, the ANA has focused its work on core issues of vital concern to the nation's registered nurses - staffing, health... Read More

  1. by   lindarn
    Quote from BillEDRN
    You obviously have some legitimate concerns about the past practices of ANA (giving you the benefit of the doubt about how accurately you relate the circumstances of the events you describe) and I understand your frustration. The wheels of government, and any bureaucracy (and ANA is a bureaucracy) move slowly and are greased with money and influence. As I said, I don't necessarily agree with ANA all the time - for example, I think they should support patient ratios because they offer concrete numbers the bedside nurse can use and aren't subject to the influence of managers who might want to nudge acuities down for staffing purposes. However, just because they don't, I don't presume that they are universally bad and worthless. Maybe not going in the direction I would want, but not bad.
    I think an appropriate analogy is that of a rude, unhelpful, possibly even "bad" cop. Although your interaction with him (or her) might leave a bad feeling in your mouth, would you go so far as to say all cops, and by inference, the police force in general, are bad, and unneeded?
    As one of the previous posters noted, the AHA is a stong and effective represenative of it's member's needs, in part because of money, but also because they know that it's important to utilize the strength of collective action. Nurses will continue to be left out of the process unless we realize that only as a collective force will we be able to affect change that is in our interest. And like any democracy, there is bound to be opposing views within the organization. And while it is important to encourage that debate, it is also equally important to support the outcome of those discussions (and the democratic process that hopefully is used to arrive at various positions) instead of storming home with your toys when you don't get your way.
    So it comes down to this: do we as nurses sit on the political sidelines and complain and whine about how we are treated? Or do we work with each other, within whatever organizational frame work or association we choose, to effect change? Will it be difficult - most certainly. Will it take time and energy - you bet. Does it have to be ANA - nope, but it has to be some type of organization of nurses. So which is easier -creating a new, more effective organization, or working to model the current one more to your (our) needs? In either senario, it will require much hard work, dedication, patience, and tolerence. Until nursing can work collectively together, we will continue to be viewed as the laughing stock of the healthcare industry. A "profession" rife with complainers and whiners who despite their talk of being professional, either cannot, or will not, work together effectively to counter whatever efforts folks like the AHA and their member hospitals want to push down our throats.
    I think that one of the biggest obstacles to nursing voicing complaints concerning workplace issues is the lack of job protection for them. One is disinclined to complain when your husband has been laid off, and you have two or three mouths to feed, a mortagage to payment, utilities, etc.

    There is minimal workplace protection for nurses, be it workplace complaints, union activity, etc. It never ceases to amaze me when nurses work to get a vote for union representation, and then allow the hospital to intimidate them into silence. The Catholic Health care system, (St. Joseph's in California comes to mind), is one of the biggest offenders.

    The ANA would have more credibility if they also supported a higher level of education for RNs, LPNs, nurses aides, etc. We have little credibility in the health care world when one can hold a professional health care license with as little as two years of school, the same as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Education is important, and our lack thereof is a very good reason we are treated as less than professional.

    The waffling from the ANA concerning this, and the "giveaways" to the hospital and nursing home industry, allowing them to continue to "deskill" the profession of nursing. We will have nothing left in a couple of years when the "real" nursing shortage hits the fan. De skilling will start in earnest by our "friends" in the industries that have the most to lose if they allow nursing to continue with its professional practice. The want nothing more than to have unlicensed assistive personnel take over our career.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Last edit by lindarn on Sep 1, '07 : Reason: spelling
  2. by   boztc
    "Just because you are necessary, it doesn't mean you are valued."

    We know how hard we work and how hard we work to make ends meet. Nursing has been sorely undervalued and we stand by and allow the hospitals to continue to minimize our contributions.

    Over the years I've made peace with my income and how hard I have to work to live comfortably. When I was struggling as a single Mom, I knew I'd always be able to support my family. Nursing did that for me. It was a steady income, not a great one, but steady.

    There was a discussion somewhere as to whether nurses are blue or white collar workers. All I can say is....my employer dictates my dress code, I do manual labor every day at the bedside, I get an hourly wage.
    That pretty much describes blue collar to me.

    I have a college degree and 30 years experience in my field, with certifications in my area of specialty. I regularly work weekends. I worked Christmas last year. I don't know what my scedule will be next month. I don't even get paid for my 1/2 hour lunch (and I never even get lunch.) I am in this position because I wanted to take care of patients...at the bedside.

    You think any city worker with the same level of education and experience can say the same? Don't even get me started on the disparity in income and benefits.

    Well, now I want to use my knowledge and experience for the common good. I want the country to know what we have endured and witnessed through the years, and I want it to change.

    If I have to cozy up to an organization that is union-based to take advantage of their resources...I will. When I was young and naive I believed the propaganda of our "professional organizations" and kept rationalizing why they were unable to help us change the system. The betrayal has only gotten worse over the years. We have only to look to the significance of "Magnet Status" to appreciate how completely we've been sold out to the hospitals.

    I can't tell anyone what organization will best help them serve their own needs. I'm just begging everyone to get involved. Tell your lawmakers, newspapers, neighbors, anyone who will listen, what is important to you. Do what you can to improve the quality of healthcare in this nation. Join together with other nurses to promote common goals. If we help our own situation in the process...it's all good. Right?
    Last edit by boztc on Sep 5, '07 : Reason: typo
  3. by   BillEDRN
    I think you may misunderstand my position (or I haven't explained it well enough:-)
    I am Pro-union and wish we could get every nurse to join, preferable a single union (think AMA, ABA) so we could get the most traction out of our numbers, and leverage that influence both "on the Hill" and in individual hospitals.
    All I am saying is that each organization, ANA or CNA/NNOC has it's own detractions. I am familar with ANA, and probably agree with you more than you think. On the other hand, I am also familar with CNA/NNOC, and can tell you that they have their own skeletons, many of which I think may come back and bite nurses in the *ss if they are not careful. Nurses don't have much in the way of influence right now, but they, as a group, are highly regarded for their ethics and high morals. I have personal, first hand experience with some of the "dirty tricks" and unethical behavior used by CNA/NNOC to accomplish their goals and that is why I think they will have some difficulties, in the long run, of gaining the support of the majority of nurses. And I say these things not because I "dislike" CNA/NNOC, because that's not true. I truely admire what they have been able to accomplish, and like you, REALLY like that they "antagonize" the employers and am a fan of healthcare reform (but, that's another issue...).
    All I want is to have nurses come together for their common good. We don't need to agree on everything, but we do need to have frannk, honest discussions and come to some consensus on some major points. That's the democratic process. And when people don't get involved in that process, the organization(s) drift from their intended goals, those goals that we initially visualized, and take the path that is beneficial to the "leaders" within the organization. ANA is a prime example...what was it's original intent? To promote nursing and create a strong, represenative voice for change. What happened? The bedside nurses faded out, and the "management" and educators (both groups that hopefully were bedside nurses who now conveniently "forget" about the hardships and difficulties of their former fellow bedside nurses) types took over. And of course, human nature kicked in, and what was important to them became the goals ANA pursued.
    But, this is also "our" fault. "We" stood by and allowed it to happen. Sure, we may have had good excuses, but nonetheless, "we" let it happen.
    So, I encourage you in your efforts to bring the plight of hardworking bedside nurses to the forefront of public debate via CNA/NNOC, or whatever venue you choose. I wish you, and every other nurse trying to make it better for those that follow, the best of luck. Just be careful. Sometimes when we want something badly enough, we turn a blind eye to things. I would hate to have something that was overlooked in the zealousness to create change wreck the products of your hard work.
  4. by   boztc
    Do tell. Warn me. Tell me what to look out for.

    I don't want to get blindsided. I welcome your input. That's what these forums are for.
  5. by   BillEDRN
    Quote from boztc
    Do tell. Warn me. Tell me what to look out for.

    I don't want to get blindsided. I welcome your input. That's what these forums are for.
    CNA/NNOC have a history of raiding other unions. They did it in Hawaii and Mass. They have in the past (in my personal experience in Hawaii) lied to gain entrance to meetings, tried to represent themselves as members of the Hawaii Nurses' Association (HNA) in order to vote at a House of Delegates, paid prior CNA board members to infiltrate (HNA), they illegally masterminded a takeover of the HNA - it should be noted that was the determination of Federal District Judge Gilmore, who ordered CNA to immediately vacate HNA's premises, and many other instances of either illegal, unethical or questionable activities in trying to reach their goals. There was also an NLRB hearing in California that found CNA had illegally harassds and threatened nurses who were opposing their efforts to organize their facilities.
    Instead of focusing their energies on organizing those markets that are not unionized, they try to take over another union. And, it wouldn't be so bad if they came in announced that they thought they would represent the nurses better and up front tried to convince nurses to change unions, but instead, they resort to the methods above.
    This, in my opinion, reduces their credability, and forces nurses to pick an apparently more ethical organization or one that may be able to make better contracts but suffers from a lack of moral conscious. As I said, these actions could tarnish the reputation of nurses who are perceived as holding high moral and ethical positions.
    Besides that, some of the articles below (which were found in a very quick search of the net, the list is certainly not exhaustive) point out that CNA has it's detractors and may have concerns over how it spends it's, or should I say it's member's money.
    Again, all I am saying is that both ANA and CNA/NNOC have their own issues, and as organizations, it will be their members, thru their actions or inactions, that will shape both the direction and operations of those organizations.
    IMHO, if you choose CNA/NNOC as your organization, you will need to ensure that such practices as noted above are curtailed. If you (hypothetically speaking of course) choose ANA, you will have to ensure that the needs of the bedside nurse are made a priority and wrest control from the educators and management-types. Either way, it will be a difficult job, and you will need to get buy-in and participation from other nurses. Good luck.





  6. by   boztc
    Thanks, Bill. I read with interest your comments and links. Unfortunately, some of the articles were cut short, but I got the jist of them.

    It seems that nurses have finally become a commodity worth fighting over. This is a situation we could really take advantage of, if we were smart.

    Sadly, it also seems that some of the competitors have taken their cue from the health care establisment and become petulant and vindictive when they don't get their way.

    I guess all we can do is pick the one we hate the least. Like all politics.

    The power, as you suggest, is in numbers. A large, ethical, voting membership is the surest way to mold any organization to our needs (and keep it in line).

    At this point, I'm more interested in political action, than union organizing. When I find a group that has shown a stronger commitment to patient care issues than self presevation....I'm in.
  7. by   leslymill
    Quote from boztc
    You know what? The NNOC is my organization of choice...thus far. I keep waiting for them to disappoint me, but so far....I'm impressed.

    I like that they antagonize the establisment and are working for Single Payer Insurance. I'm not in a union, but I'm not against them either. If the NNOC has a hidden agenda, it can only be to create the largest membership of nurses in the country, union or not. If that gets us better health care for everyone, I'm all for it.

    I truly believe nurses are driven by their hearts and minds, not their pocketbooks. We have to vote and speak our conscience. People respect us and our opinions. We should use that power for to fix a system we know is broken.

    I think your right. I don't think the NNOC will replace the ANA or knock it down. I think it just has a better chance of doing what the ANA has repeatedly been too impotent to address...Some of the THE REAL ISSUES.
    Last edit by leslymill on Sep 14, '07 : Reason: poor spelling
  8. by   teeituptom
    but what are real issues to some, arent a thing to others
  9. by   leslymill
    Quote from teeituptom
    but what are real issues to some, arent a thing to others
    Especially if they believe in the "Village" of the damned, eat children, wipe their mouths of the blood, onto their sleeves, and insist they have done nothing wrong.
  10. by   Yosemite, RN
    The ANA collects dues. Lobby? Yeah, right... for their masters, hospital organizations.

    The ANA, like so many RN's who go into mid to upper management of any kind, sell out the staff/floor nurses, the patients, the support staff, the families and watch out for themselves, their jobs and use phoney "nurse speak" language to paint a cheery picture of the status of U.S. healthcare, what they are doing for us.

    While, no doubt, at their onset, the goals were admirable and lofty, the power, egos and the evil side of capitalism have turned them to the "dark side."
  11. by   28wkpreemieRN
    If the ANA were serious about representing the average nurse, it would be a lot cheaper to join! I know they don't have any affect on my day to day practice
  12. by   allaboutthefamily
    "The American Nurses Association (ANA) is responsible for defining the scope and standards of generic nursing practice. In 1991, ANA revised the standards of clinical nursing practice, broadening professional role expectations. This document builds on those basic standards to delineate the scope and standards of clinical practice in correctional facilities. The revised specialty standards also incorporate information from prior correctional health nursing standards."..from pen state website.

    The ANA actually does have a large impact upon your practice. They write standards of practice that we can all be held accountable for in addition to those presented by the state BON. In a court of law you can be held accountable for many external standards of care, many of which you may have never read.

    This being said, they shouldnt need millions of dollars a year to do so. They dont do much (relatively speaking) on the political front, and it is generally an orginazation of little power that is heavily influenced by those outside of nursing (hospitals, etc.). It can be said that the force the ANA exherts is less than those being exherted back upon it. And the worst part is that this "force" is not coming from nurses. I joined the Student ANA at my college and quit after the first meeting. Thier whole drive seemed to be to get more people to sign up and attend national student ANA conventions and pat each other on the back. The whole thing reminded my of some kind of odd fundraising chocolate bar sale. They had little knowledge of politics and the process of changing legislation through lobbying, and did not seem to care. I was only paying 30-40 bucks (per year) but they would have to make some big changes to get me to pay 200 dollars.
  13. by   faithingodmsn
    come on when is our staffing going to be safe? It is 2008