This year’s Membership Assembly events were built around opportunities — to engage, network, deliberate, celebrate and advance nursing issues. And the 350 representatives to the Assembly, the governing body of the American Nurses Association (ANA), took full advantage of those opportunities.
The Assembly — which brought together representatives from around the country and different specialties — was held June 13 and 14 in Washington, DC. Additionally, ANA hosted its annual Lobby Day, awards reception and other activities June 12.
One of the first Assembly-related, engagement activities called on participants to work in concert to play the classical piece, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Participants initially divided into two groups to learn their respective parts, and how to play either stringed instruments or percussive instruments, all in about 90 minutes. The result was an impressive performance, and one that set the stage for continued collaborative work over the course of the meeting.
Afterward, ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, noted that the activity fit the occasion, because “it demonstrates how quickly we are able to adapt — while maintaining our overall effectiveness as a community.” Daley also reported on some of the transformative efforts that ANA has undergone during her four-year tenure, including increasing avenues for member engagement, such as via professional issues panels, a staffing conference and continuing education activities.
“We are more timely and action-oriented in our programmatic work, and we are increasing the speed with which we accomplish our goals,” Daley said. “Increasingly, we are thinking more ‘big picture’ and being more inclusive of a wider range of stakeholders.”
Daley further addressed strengthening collaborations with constituent and state nurses associations (C/SNAs), specialty nursing organizational affiliates and the larger ANA enterprise, which includes the American Nurses Foundation, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nursing.
“I believe ANA is on the right trajectory, and regardless of the challenges that lie ahead, I am confident that ANA is well-positioned to lead the way to the future for our members, our profession and, ultimately and most importantly, our patients,” said Daley, who completed her term as president.
On the second day of the assembly, ANA Chief Executive Officer Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN, provided a more detailed update on ANA’s progress in its transformation to become an even more relevant and engaging association.
Weston shared a quote she recently came across that inspired her to further reflect on ANA’s journey: “Things are not what they are; they are what they become,” by Gaston Bachelard, a philosopher, poet and physicist.
When looking back on ANA’s achievements over the past two years, Weston said she believes that the association and Assembly representatives not only asked questions to seek a stronger path, but also asked the “right” questions. The results have been significant strides in membership growth, engagement opportunities and the ability to address emerging issues in a more timely manner, among other key accomplishments. She specifically called last year a “breakthrough year” in which membership grew by 8.4 percent, and she related ongoing efforts to help new grads move to ANA membership more seamlessly.
Weston also pointed to the tremendous number of nurses participating in the work of ANA and nursing. For example, ANA recently received more than 1,000 comments around its revision of its Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, and a record number of nurses took advantage of the many webinars ANA offered on topics, such as staffing, genomics and leadership.
Finally, she thanked Assembly representatives and said, “You’ve been boldly innovative, impactful and worthy of the trust our members put in you.”
Advocating and collaborating
With energy, commitment and knowledge, more than 160 nurses headed to Capitol Hill to meet with federal legislators to discuss issues vital to patients and the nursing profession. Another 400 nurses participated in legislative advocacy activities virtually, and more than 900 letters were sent during the week of Lobby Day.
Prior to the Hill visits, nurses gathered for a breakfast briefing.Nurses were indeed geared up to send a strong message that nurses and quality care go hand in hand.
One nurse, ANA member Alicia Littlejohn, BSN, RN-BC, said, “I am here to advocate for all Americans and make a difference in my community. I want to ensure quality care is being given, especially with the ongoing changes in health care.” Littlejohn is a certified case manager with Children’s School Services, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC.
Arizona Nurses Association member Anne McNamara, PhD, RN, said “Advocacy is our No. 1 priority, and the only way our voice will be heard is to have a conversation with key people. And they need to hear from us.”
Also on June 12, representatives from ANA’s 34 specialty nursing organizational affiliates (OAs) reported on their current work on a variety of issues and discussed potential collaborative efforts. (For a list of OAs, visit NursingWorld.org.) Participants shared their activities on membership growth, care coordination, workplace violence and academic progression, among other topics.
Honoring and celebrating
At an inspiring and joyful event held June 12, nurses celebrated their profession and the remarkable achievements of 10 of their colleagues. Five nurses were inducted into ANA’s prestigious Hall of Fame, and another five received ANA’s national honorary awards. (To see more on the recipients, go to www.nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutANA/Honoring-Nurses/NationalAwardsProgram.)
The following day, Hall of Fame inductees or their representatives participated in a question-and-answer panel. Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Thoman-Curtis, RN, Florida Nurses Association member, spoke of being influenced by her childhood neighbor, President Harry Truman, and the legendary Virginia Henderson; Mary Ellen Patton, RN, Ohio Nurses Association member, recalled Ohio nurses’ hard-won efforts to gain fair wages and benefits for nurses; and Robert Piemonte, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN, ANA-New York, described being immediately inspired by nurses’ breadth of knowledge on issues when he attended his first state nurses association convention. Recognized posthumously were Pearl McIver, MS, RN, and Jessie M. Scott, DSc, RN, FAAN, RADM.
In a separate event, Daley presented Carol O’Meara, MSN, RN, C-NP, with the 2014 President’s Award. A member of the Colorado Nurses Association, O’Meara was honored for her long-standing commitment to ANA’s governance, including her key role in ushering in structural changes to make ANA more efficient and responsive.
Nurses also had the opportunity to network and celebrate at ANA-PAC events, including an ANA-PAC Rocks DC karaoke party. Approximately $31,000 was raised.
The Foundation honored its high donors at a luncheon and more than doubled the donations received in 2013, including raising more than $20,000 for the Karen Daley Endowed Leadership Fund.