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ANA Membership Assembly Day 2

Nurses' mental health and licensure, improved care for veterans, and ethics key issues at ANA Membership Assembly

The ANA Membership Assembly, the governing and official voting body of the American Nurses Association (ANA) acted on June 29 to support nurses struggling with mental health issues and licensure and to increase access to quality health care for veterans.

Assembly representatives also voted on transparency in investments and ethical partnerships. More than 400 nurses, observers, and other leaders attended the two-day governance meeting in Washington, D.C. Eligible representatives also elected national leaders. 

Aiming high

In her report to the Assembly, ANA Enterprise CNO Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, thanked members for coming together to demonstrate “the power of nurses.”

“It is this body — representing nearly every corner of the nation—that sets the priorities for nursing,” said Hatmaker. “You are activists, change-makers, experts, leaders, educators, and more.”

In support of ANA’s commitment to confront racism in nursing, Hatmaker reported on the formation of the Racial Reckoning Think Tank in partnership with ethnic minority nursing associations. “We are approaching this work intentionally, ensuring that the right voices and lived experiences are represented,” she said. “We expect the outcomes from the Think Tank to offer meaningful recommendations to advance an anti-racist profession.”

Hatmaker provided a report to the Assembly on progress made on last year’s dialogue forum recommendations on the topics of virtual nursing, preventing gun violence, and documentation burden. For example, ANA is developing a national policy that addresses standardization of virtual nursing.


ANA is also advocating for legislation to address gun safety and access and increase funding for research on gun violence and mental health services. During the meeting, the organization released a statement applauding the Surgeon General’s declaration of gun violence as public health crisis.

Compassion and support

Assembly participants agreed that change is needed to eliminate discriminatory policies against nurses with substance misuse and mental health issues and foster a culture of support and compassion. Nurses who struggle with addiction are often reluctant to seek help because they fear loss of license and employment opportunities. Several attendees described losing colleagues to suicide due to feelings of hopelessness. The Assembly voted to accelerate changes to mental health reporting requirements and normalize the process for nurses to seek help for workplace-related stresses.

In support of increased access to care for the U.S. veteran population, the Assembly voted to consider VA Community Care as a supplement to care delivery by the Veterans Health Administration, and to work to improve nursing knowledge relating to the unique health care needs of the veteran population.

In addition to its policy actions, the Membership Assembly also approved a scheduled dues escalation starting in 2025.

Attendees also provided input to the Professional Policy Committee recommendations involving a draft revision of the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. The revision, due for publication in January 2025, is open for public comments through July 31, 2024.


Emerging issues

Assembly representatives heard new business, approving motions regarding the ethics and transparency of financial investments and developing a policy to evaluate all external partners for alignment with internal ethics.

The Assembly did not approve a motion recommending that the ANA Board of Directors endorse a candidate in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

National leaders elected to serve on the nine-member ANA Board of Directors during the Membership Assembly include: 

  • President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Oregon Nurses Association;
  • Secretary Amanda Oliver, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPST, ANA-Illinois;
  • Director-at-Large Edward Briggs, DNP, MS, APRN, Florida Nurses Association;
  • Director-at-Large Ahnyel Burkes, DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC, Louisiana State Nurses Association; and
  • Director-at-Large, Staff Nurse Josephine Agyei, BSN, RN, ANA-New York. 

Elected to serve on the Nominations and Elections Committee are:  

  • Mavis Mesi, DNP, MSN, RN, Colorado Nurses Association;
  • Vinciya Pandian, PhD, MBA, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP, FAAN, FFNMRCSI, Maryland Nurses Association; and
  • Kimberly Velez, MSN, RN, ANA-New York.


Read more about Day 1 of the Membership Assembly and ANA Hill Day.

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