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Advocacy and activism: 2018 ANA Membership Assembly

In her opening remarks to the American Nurses Association Membership Assembly on June 22 in Washington, DC, President Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, reflected on the work of the association during her two terms as president. 

“It’s bittersweet that this will be my last Membership Assembly presentation to you, but I’m pleased to talk to you about how together we have become stronger and what we’ve accomplished. So far it’s been an amazing four years, and I look forward to my remaining six months and to working with all of you as leaders."

“Advocacy and activism represent the tone and direction of our work over the last four years,” Cipriano said to the nearly 300 attendees, including observers. The Membership Assembly is comprised of representatives from ANA’s constituent and state nurses associations, the Individual Member Division, and specialty nursing organizational affiliates as well as the ANA Board of Directors. Many had attended a successful Hill Day event on June 21.

Cipriano highlighted some of the accomplishments during her term, including ANA’s visibility and leadership during the Ebola crisis. “ANA had to stop misinformation and reduce fear to support nurses and other caregivers,” Cipriano said, to help move from crisis mode to problem-solving mode.

ANA also used its voice to advocate for nurses making difficult ethical decisions, addressed the growing incidence of workplace violence, pushed for safe staffing measures, and helped amplify the health care community’s objections to the current administration’s attacks on affordable coverage.

“Health care became a lightning rod issue” after the 2016 election, Cipriano said, leading ANA to devote most of 2017 to “fighting against harmful changes” to health care policy.

This hard work in advocacy prompted Forbes magazine to call ANA “an increasingly politically powerful lobbying force in Washington, DC, and in state capitals across the country.”

Cipriano also touched on one of the most unsettling incidents of 2017: the forcible arrest of Alex Wubbels, BSN, RN, a Utah Nurses Association member who refused to allow a blood draw from an unconscious patient. “The bottom line is that violence and harm to nurses should never happen, and nurses should not accept it as part of the job. I’m proud of the #EndNurseAbuse campaign,” she said, which has garnered 14,000 pledges and is still growing.

Looking ahead, Cipriano spoke briefly about ANA’s strategic plan and told Membership Assembly representatives that if nurses “are not speaking out, we are not fulfilling our ethical obligation.”

Honorary awards

Following Cipriano’s address, ANA’s Honorary Awards were presented to 12 outstanding nurses whose dedication and achievements have contributed significantly to the nursing profession. Two nurses were inducted into ANA’s Hall of Fame, and 10 RNs received Honorary Awards.

Other activities

Membership Assembly attendees participated in three dialogue forums: Secondary Opioid Exposure Considerations in Caring for Patients with Overdose; ANA Presidential Endorsement Process; and An Ethics Debate: The Right to Die.   Stay up to date and join the conversation

For news on ANA’s Membership Assembly and related activities, follow us on ANA’s Facebook and Twitter channels.



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