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RNs convene to consider lessons learned and take on priority issues

The impact of climate change on health, solutions to address verbal abuse and workplace violence, and the nurse staffing crisis were topics of discussion during Dialogue Forums at the 2022 ANA Membership Assembly, the governing and official voting body of the American Nurses Association (ANA). Nurses and others gathered for the governance meeting which commenced on June 10 in Washington, DC. Eligible representatives will elect association leaders.

In the final Membership Assembly address of his term, ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, acknowledged the momentous challenges that nurses have faced since the last in-person event in 2019.

“The past three years have been rough on all of us, but particularly for our frontline colleagues who have had to stare down the worst of COVID-19,” he said. “As an organization we are going to have to continue to address this challenge, to lead on the response, to fight for millions of nurses across the country, and – always, always – put the patients first.”  

Grant noted how the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on priorities he set when he took office in 2019 to address diversity in nursing, increase nurses’ engagement with consumers, and grow ANA’s membership.

“As part of its COVID-19 survey series, the American Nurses Foundation discovered that Black and Latino nurses were more likely than their White colleagues to be in roles providing direct care to infected patients – and they themselves were more than twice as likely to have been infected with the virus,” he said. “That was disappointing…and horrifying.  But it also indicated that we are right to make ending racism in nursing a key priority of ANA.”

Grant expressed his gratitude to Membership Assembly representatives for their support during his term. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for enabling me to serve ANA and the nursing profession. It has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Advocacy and optimism

In her report, Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, chief nursing officer of the ANA Enterprise, encouraged attendees to continue the advocacy work that has been vital to ANA’s efforts to advance nursing’s priorities.

“You, the activists of this organization, are the ones to make this happen,” said Hatmaker. “That was certainly evident in the success of this year’s Hill Day.”

Hatmaker reported on progress made on last year’s dialogue forum recommendations and looked to the future.

“We plan to leave this Membership Assembly with renewed optimism and direction, remaining focused on this body's priorities and our Boards’ strategic direction. We remain grateful for your input and guidance. I especially want to say thank you for the outreach and support you provided this past year.  We could not have done this critical work without the commitment of our members.”

Earlier on Friday, Membership Assembly representatives participated in a hearing on a draft Racial Reckoning Statement in which ANA acknowledged, apologized, and asked forgiveness for the association’s actions that have negatively impacted nurses of color, caused harm and perpetuated systemic racism, as part of a journey of racial healing within nursing.

On Thursday evening, ANA recognized 21 extraordinary nurses during the President’s and National Awards ceremony for their contributions to the profession and healthcare, including two inductees into the prestigious Hall of Fame.

What’s next

Watch for actions taken by the Assembly and election results on June 11.

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