NYSNA's Leadership Academy is designed to advance members’ knowledge and appreciation of the New York State Nurses Association, as they prepare for leadership roles. In this introductory Tier, they complete independent study exercises, with basic information about the Nurses Association and other topics important to nursing leaders. Members who complete the five Tier 1 modules may apply to become Leadership Fellows.
In this module you will discover the Nurses Association’s mission, vision and values, as well as the many services and programs NYSNA offers its members. Occasionally links are provided to additional information on NYSNA's web site. Use these links to "explore" throughout NYSNA's web site, and obtain information to assist you in the examination at the end of the module. You must complete and return the examinations for each module.
NYSNA was founded in 1901 as the nation’s first state nurses association. Throughout its history, the Nurses Association’s mission has been to promote the interests of registered nurses and to exert its influence to improve the healthcare system.
In 1904, NYSNA officially voted to affiliate with the Nurses Associated Alumnae, a national organization of nurses that was renamed the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 1911. Currently, the NYS Nurses Association is the largest constituent nurses association in the ANA.
The mission of the New York State Nurses Association is to support and enhance the practice of the registered professional nurse and improve the public's health by providing leadership in changing the healthcare environment.
Nursing is evolving, innovative, accessible and reflects society's diversity. Registered professional nurses are recognized as essential providers of healthcare services and the primary advocate for the public. Nurses understand the value of collective power and actively engage in organizations that promote nursing — practice and community involvement.
NYSNA’s highest authority is the Voting Body, which includes all members who attend the association’s annual business meeting. At these sessions, members vote on bylaws changes, legislative priorities, and other matters related to the association and the profession.
A 21-member Board of Directors is responsible for corporate management as well as fiduciary affairs and is authorized by provisions of applicable law to do all things appropriate and necessary for the development and perpetuation of NYSNA. Board members include five officers (president, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, secretary, and treasurer), ten directors at large, and six regional directors. These individuals are elected by the entire membership, and each serve a three-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in the same office.
The Committee on Bylaws and the Committee on Finance are standing board committees. Members are appointed by the Board of Directors.
There are seven advisory councils, with members are appointed by the Board of Directors:
Seven Practice Focus Groups (PFGs) allow members to improve their professional practice and development within a specific practice area. Each unit has an executive committee including a chairperson, vice chairperson and three members-at-large. Executive committee members are elected during annual business meetings and attend meetings of the Council on Nursing Practice. PFGs include:
There are two board-appointed advisory groups. The HIV/AIDS Advisors and the Rural Health Committee provide information to the Council on Nursing Practice and the Council on Ethics and Human Rights.
The Board of Directors has the authority to establish special committees as needed. Current NYSNA special committees are the Membership Committee and the Peer Assistance Committee.
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NYSNA first showed its concern about the economic security of nurses in 1918 when the association established a Committee on Nurses Relief Fund. In the 1930s and 1940s, the association vigorously promoted the eight-hour day and began to seriously examine employment conditions.
In 1957, the NYSNA House of Delegates unanimously approved the formation of the Economic & General Welfare Program to represent registered nurses for collective bargaining. By 1962, NYSNA had 51 local bargaining units and a decade later became the largest union for registered nurses in the country, representing nearly 30,000 RNs.
The Economic and General Welfare (EGW) Program is primarily responsible for providing services to NYSNA members represented by the association for collective bargaining. EGW offices are located in Latham (NYSNA headquarters), and in New York City.
Currently there are more than 160 NYSNA local bargaining units (LBU), each with its own contract and governing rules. A Nursing Representative and a Labor Representative are assigned to each LBU to assist members in enforcing the terms of their contract, pursuing grievances and arbitrations, and running their units effectively.
The EGW Resource Team provides services to all LBU members. A Labor Educator conducts in-facility workshops on negotiations, grievances, the history of nursing labor organizations, and many other topics. An Occupational Health and Safety Representative works with nurses to improve their workplaces and promote environmentally friendly health care. The Community Affairs Representative assists members in promoting legislation at the local level, primarily in New York City.
An important part of EGW Program activities is organizing nurses who want to form NYSNA bargaining units at their facilities. A Director of Organizing supervises a staff skilled in this area.
The Congress includes the chairpersons or presidents of all NYSNA local bargaining units. This group meets twice a year to discuss common labor and workplace issues. It serves in an advisory capacity to the Executive Director and the E&GW Program Director.
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The Nursing Education and Practice (NEP) Program assists NYSNA members with a broad spectrum of nursing issues involving education, practice, and research.
Registered nurses in the NEP Program are experienced in answering questions about the legal scope and ethical aspects of nursing practice in a variety of settings. They respond on a daily basis to members and staff who have questions related to these issues. In an effort to promote high standards of nursing practice while preserving and protecting the profession, NEP staff monitor and work with regulatory agencies, coalitions, and other stakeholders throughout the state.
The NEP Program is committed to maintaining the quality of nursing education in New York State, and serves as a resource for nurse educators and staff development professionals. Career resource materials and information on the profession are available to guidance counselors and instructors at both the high school and college levels.
NYSNA provides on-site workshops and seminars that cover a broad array of topics and issues. Some of the more popular onsite topics are pharmacology and medication administration, avoiding malpractice, and knowing the Nurse Practice Act.
NYSNA also offers online courses at its e-leaRN™ website. Offerings include New York State mandatory courses on infection control and identifying child abuse, which can be completed online with the results transmitted electronically to the State Education Department Licensing Division.
NYSNA works closely with the Cathryne A. Welch Center for Nursing Research Steering Committee to promote and advance nursing research in the state. Of particular interest is encouraging evidence-based practice among nurses. Many of these goals are advanced by the NYSNA Council on Nursing Research.
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The Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) Program was created by NYSNA in 1992 to provide resources for nurses whose practice was in danger of being impaired by the use of alcohol and other drugs. In 2000, a state law established the program for all RNs and LPNs in the state. NYSNA was first awarded the state contract to administer the SPAN program in 2001.
The program uses the strategies of direct education, support groups, and volunteer RN advocates who mentor SPAN participants. While the program does not provide treatment for addiction itself, it helps connect nurses with the services they need through referrals. Participants also receive help with licensure issues.
SPAN operates a confidential toll-free HELPline (800.45.SPAN.1) that allows nurses to contact the program 24/7. Participants are assessed and mentored by regional SPAN coordinators, who are registered nurses with expertise in treatment for addictive disease.
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The Nurses Association's first initiative was the passage of a state Nurse Practice Act. This law was enacted in 1903 after extensive lobbying efforts by NYSNA and its members. It permitted registration of qualified nurses and created the title “registered nurse.”
In 1938, New York became the first state in the nation to require licensure for “all who nurse for hire.” The legal definition of nursing was revised again in 1972, when New York became the first state to recognize nursing as a distinct and independent health profession.
The Political and Community Organizing (PCO)Department works to promote legislation that will benefit nurses and improve their work environments. Based on a legislative program approved by the Voting Body, staff conduct lobbying and grassroots activities designed to strengthen nurses’ visibility and clout in the State Capitol. A Lobby Day is held each spring in Albany, attended by hundreds of RNs and nursing students.
PCO staff provide information, training, and support to members interested in political and legislative action. Legislative District Coordinators (LDCs) serve as liaisons with local legislators and reinforce the importance of nursing as a political force. The Council on Legislation and the NYSNA-PAC Board of Trustees help to define the NYSNA legislative agenda and to support political candidates who can advance these goals.
The NYSNA-PAC is the political action arm of NYSNA. It evaluates candidates for state office, advises the Board of Directors about endorsements, and contributes to the campaigns of those who can advance NYSNA’s legislative objectives. The PAC educates members about the political process and encourages them to vote. The NYSNA-PAC is funded by an annual deduction from each member’s dues. Members who do not want to give to the PAC have a right to decline the contribution from their dues.
District Nurses Associations
There are 19 separately incorporated constituent district nurses’ associations throughout New York State that provide nurses with services and leadership on the local level. NYSNA supports these groups with educational and networking opportunities.
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The NYSNA library is the only professionally staffed state nurses’ association library in the country. It houses more than 8,000 volumes and 400 journal titles in nursing, medicine, hospital administration, education and labor relations. Library staff is available to assist members seeking information on a wide range of topics related to nursing and health care.
New York Nurse, NYSNA’s official magazine, is published 10 times a year and includes current information on nursing issues and labor activities, plus news about the association and its members. The magazine is mailed to all members free of charge. The Journal of the New York State Nurses Association, a peer-reviewed publication, is mailed to members biannually at no charge. It includes research articles and other information significant to the profession and health care.
Membership information is processed, updated, and maintained by membership representatives. They also answer questions related to membership status and benefits and promote the association to nonmembers.
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Please note: Accessing this module from a business, educational facility or library where a firewall is installed may disable the links included here, as would any custom settings individuals have on their own computer system. If this becomes a problem, you may prefer to access the NYSNA web site from another computer, and download, print and return the individual module examinations by fax or first-class mail.
When you have finished studying this module, you may complete the online examination. You are required to achieve a minimum score of 80% on the exam in order to continue onto the next module. After successful completion of each module and examination, you will be notified by a member of the EPR Program staff that you may continue.
When you have completed all five modules and examinations, you are eligible to apply for consideration as a candidate to become a Fellow in the Leadership Academy.
Applications to the Leadership Academy will be mailed to those members who have completed all five modules in Tier One. The final decision regarding applicants selected to become a Leadership Fellow is made by the NYSNA Board of Directors. We wish you success in your pursuit to become a leader in the New York State Nurses Association.
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