Following a successful Hill Day event, the importance of strong advocacy continued to be the primary message when the American Nurses Association Membership Assembly kicked off today. (Watch the opening video)
About 300 attendees are at the Assembly, including both representatives from ANA's constituent/state nurses associations, Individual Member Division and specialty nursing organizational affiliates, and observers.
In her opening remarks, President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, harkened back to the theme of her speech from last year's Assembly, "Leading in a Changing World." That theme has become prophetic given the turn of events that began with the Nov. 8, 2016, election and continue with the uncertainties surrounding the future of health care, human rights, climate change and other important issues.
"Nov. 8 was a watershed event in this country," she said. "Everything began to change in our world."
She spoke of the association sharing ANA's Principles for Health System Transformation with President-elect Trump in December 2016 that, in part, calls for access to affordable health insurance plans offering a minimum standard of benefits. She also cited the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the American Health Care Act in May, and the importance of ANA and nurses continuing to use our voices to oppose this harmful measure as U.S. Senators engage in discussions.
"It is dangerous, it is hurtful, and it is irresponsible to the American people," Cipriano said of the AHCA. She also addressed the ongoing stress that many nurses are feeling – no matter what they think about the election results – and that this constant stress can lead to exhaustion.
"Our responsibility is to find the path forward," said Cipriano, which ANA has been focused on for several months. "We realize it's important to have resilience and adaptation, and to continue our work."
Cipriano also shared some successful efforts of ANA and nurses, including helping nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and clinical nurse specialists gain full practice authority at Veterans Administration facilities, and laying the groundwork and launching the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge™.
National Student Nurses' Association President Jennifer Kalenkoski thanked ANA members for their continued relationship with NSNA, their mentorship and their leadership.
In describing her participation in ANA Hill Day, she added, "Never have I been more proud to be in nursing after a day like yesterday."
Participants also were ready to engage in two dialogue forums, one on preparing nurses to be effective advocates in an uncertain health care environment and another on fostering member engagement in association policy development.
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