Breaking news and down-to-the-minute updates on major health care and humanitarian issues added urgency and even greater purpose to the final day of the American Nurses Association’s 2018 Membership Assembly, held June 22-23 in Washington, DC. Eligible Assembly representatives adopted recommendations from the Professional Policy Committee and elected ANA board and committee members.
Representatives approved recommendations that were developed following three separate dialogue forums held the previous day. The three forums focused on: secondary opioid exposure considerations in caring for patients with overdose; the ANA presidential endorsement process; and the ANA position statement Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Aid in Dying.
The recommendations call on ANA to:
- Identify informational tools to inform students and nurses about responding to patients who have potential opioid overdose, and advocate for funding and other support for research and development of evidence-based protocols regarding opioid overdose.
- Refer consideration of the ANA presidential endorsement procedure back to the ANA Board of Directors for development of a revised proposal following further input from ANA members and stakeholders.
- Incorporate the following into a revised position statement on aid in dying: Nurses must respect patients’ right to request aid in dying; nurses must be knowledgeable of the law regarding aid in dying in the state or territory in which they practice; while nurses are ethically permitted to participate in aid in dying, in states or territories where it is legal, they retain the right to conscientiously object; nurses must be able to provide information on aid in dying and provide emotional support to patients and families who face this decision at the end of life.
Eligible voting representatives elected Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the North Carolina Nurses Association as the association’s next president.
ANA’s Membership Assembly also elected four other members to serve on the nine-member board of directors. The newly-elected board members are: Secretary Stephanie Pierce, PhD, MN, RN, CNE, of the Louisiana State Nurses Association; Director-at-Large Tonisha Melvin, DNP, CRRN, NP-C, of the Georgia Nurses Association; Director-at-Large Varsha Singh, MSN, APN, of the New Jersey State Nurses Association; Director-at-Large Staff Nurse Jennifer Gil, BSN, RN, of ANA Massachusetts. Additionally, three members were elected to the Nominations and Elections Committee.
Terms of service for the newly elected members begin Jan. 1, 2019.
New ANA Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Loressa Cole, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, addressed the Assembly, expressing gratitude for the opportunity. Cole offered her vision of a future where nurses lead. “Our nation and our patients are counting on us to show up and speak up,” she said. “We must not fail them. ANA will be there, and I know you will join us.”
Celebrating a victory
ANA joined other nursing organizations commending the passage of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which will extend prescribing authority to nurses and help combat the opioid crisis. The bill has moved to the Senate.
By acclamation, the Membership Assembly endorsed an updated ANA board statement on the Administration’s practice of separating children from families at the United States border. Read the statement here.
A reflection—and a look ahead
ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, also gave her final Membership Assembly address. Her term will end at the close of 2018.
Cipriano, who has been an ANA member since she graduated from nursing school, said that she will continue to support ANA “from the sidelines,” and called nurses “the most intelligent and dedicated individuals who are strong and smart and brave and bold.”
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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.
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