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Gun violence, virtual nursing, reducing nursing documentation burden, top issues at the ANA Membership Assembly

The ANA Membership Assembly, the governing and official voting body of the American Nurses Association (ANA) acted today to advocate for meaningful legislation to address gun safety and firearm access and for increased funding for mental health services and gun violence and prevention research, including research on gun violence against health care workers and in health care settings.  

Assembly representatives also voted on the issues of virtual nursing as a practice model innovation and of nursing documentation during a time of crisis. More than 350 nurses, observers, and other leaders attended the two-day governance meeting in Washington, DC. Eligible representatives also elected national leaders. 

Progress and Posterity 

In her final address to the Assembly, retiring ANA Enterprise CEO Loressa Cole, DNP, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, noted that she would be leaving the organization in a strong financial position and with substantial progress having been made on the three commitments she made as CEO. These include a strengthened shared decision-making approach across the Enterprise, more closely harmonized work among the three Enterprise entities, and continued focus on nursing excellence and a quality agenda.  

She also highlighted the Enterprise’s progress involving diversity, equity, and inclusion—and the considerable work remaining. Noting the concrete commitments the Enterprise has made in its strategic plan and funding decisions to sustain this effort in the long term, she added, “This will not stop until all vestiges of racism are eliminated from our organization and the profession at large … it's vitally important that we do, as our sustained efforts on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in our profession—and within ANA—will resound across efforts to address other critical priorities impacting the quality of and access to care.”  

Key Issues 

In their discussions about gun violence, Assembly members noted the devastating impact of this issue across-society. Nurses spoke not only of the physical and mental health consequences of gun violence to those directly injured but also to the mental health and emotional effects on nurses, other health care professionals, first responders and communities. The Assembly also voted to promote nursing knowledge on the relationship between gun violence and public health, the risk factors of and protective factors against violence, evidence-based strategies to prevent violence, and the role of nurses in promoting gun safety and preventing violence, especially among children, adolescents, and young adults.  

In recognition of the burgeoning role of virtual nursing, the Assembly voted to develop a national policy that addresses standardization of virtual nursing practice as a modality and considers funding and reimbursement models, as well as implications associated with licensure, regulation, and liability. 

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to reduce the burden of nursing documentation, especially during a time of crisis. The Assembly voted to generate a national consensus for research and policy development to lessen the burden of nursing documentation, particularly during a crisis or emergency using an all-hazards approach.  

In addition to its policy actions, the Membership Assembly also approved seven bylaws amendments involving the roles and responsibilities of the Committee on Bylaws, the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), and the Board of Directors’ role in appointing vacancies on the NEC when there are no candidates for vacancies.  

National leaders elected to serve on the nine-member board of directors during the Membership Assembly include: 

  • Vice President Anita Girard, DNP, RN, CNL, CPHQ, NEA-BC, of ANA\California; 
  • Treasurer Joan Widmer, MS, MSBA, RN, of New Hampshire Nurses Association; 
  • Director-at-Large Khaliah Fisher-Grace, PhD, RN, CPHQ, PCCN-K, of the Individual Member Division; Director-at-Large, 
  • Recent Graduate Nikule Abel, BSN, RN, of the Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses. 

Elected to serve on the Nominations and Elections Committee are:  

  • Liz Aquino, PhD, RN, of ANA-Illinois; 
  • Kaitlin Cuas, MSN, RN-BC, CDP, of the Connecticut Nurses Association; 
  • Linda Taft, RN, of ANA-Michigan; and 

Nelson Tuazon, DNP, DBA, RN, NEC-BC, CENP, CPHQ, CPPS, FACHE, FNAP, FAAN, of the Texas Nurses Association.

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