By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief
So far, so good
In June, the American Nurses Association (ANA) convened its second membership assembly, which included representatives of constituent and state nurses associations, individual members groups and affiliated entities, plus the board of directors. (This is the structure that replaced the House of Delegates as the official governing body of the ANA, when ANA restructured in 2012. See our 2012 report on the restructuring.)
The assembly was preceded by ANA’s annual Lobby Day on June 12th, in which nurses visited legislators on Capitol Hill to talk up legislation important to nursing, like bills on staffing, safe patient handling, and one that would remove barriers to efficient home care services.
This membership assembly was subdued—perhaps a gift for Karen Daley, the outgoing two-term president who shepherded the organization through a turbulent period of change. There were no contentious resolutions to deal with this time—there were only three issues brought to the group through dialogue forums, to develop recommendations for the board of directors:
- scope of practice (full practice authority for all RNs)
- integrating palliative care into health care delivery
- promoting interprofessional health care teams
While the scope of practice topic was ostensibly promoting full practice for ALL RNs, most of the discussion (and a video) focused only on APRNs as physician colleagues. I wonder: are we fostering a message in which only nurses who are APRNs are perceived as physician colleagues?
Reports from both Daley and CEO Marla Weston painted a picture of an organization on the rebound: the restructuring is working and saving money even though there are more staff and meetings; there are new organizational affiliates and membership growth is “exceeding expectations.” A highlight of the two-day meeting was the session with this year’s inductees into the ANA Hall of Fame: Barbara Curtis, Mary Ellen Patton, Bob Piemonte and posthumously, Pearl McIver and Jessie M. Scott.
And the membership assembly elected a new president, Pamela Cipriano, who will serve a two-year term. You can see video highlights on YouTube (including the assembly “orchestra,” playing instruments in the opening leadership activity) and more details on the meeting on the ANA Web site.
I have to say, I sort of miss the old House of Delegates—it was at least lively, with folks in hats festooned with buttons and coordinated outfits and sometimes decorations for the table signs. And when people stood at the microphones to comment, they usually identified themselves with various qualifiers hyping their state or organization, such as “From the great state of….” or “Proud to be a member of…” There were also celebrities of sorts, too, among the delegates—individuals who were fixtures on delegations and who could be counted on year after year to play the devil’s advocate or raise “points of order,” or to wordsmith resolutions to the point where the entire House would groan in unison each time they appeared at the mike.
And there were some significant and moving moments when people spoke so passionately about issues that it would move the House to action. But it was difficult to accomplish much with 600 or so delegates all wanting to express themselves; the membership assembly will have no more than 400 members.
So the bottom line from this year: things are looking good.