NEW YORK NURSE: November 2009
by Karen A. Ballard, MA, RN, President
NYSNA nurses met in Saratoga Springs in October to view the magnificence of autumn in all of its glory and meet old and new friends.
It was time to thank Linda O’Brien for her inspiring and caring presidency, during which she guided NYSNA in meeting new challenges and achieving some wonderful milestones. Becoming NYSNA’s president is a humbling and awesome responsibility for me. In two years, my name will be added to the presidential plaque that lists all of my 47 predecessors starting with Sylvie Nye, a true nursing visionary.
I have been asked what I will do during my presidency. I always respond that it is not what I am going to do, but what NYSNA and its members will do. There is nothing any president can do without support.
What do I see all of us doing together? At its meeting every four years, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) adopts a “watchword” chosen by its new president. In that tradition, I have chosen a word for us for the next two years. It is part of our wonderful slogan, Advocating for Patients, Advancing the Profession. The word and my choice for all of us is “advance.”
We need to advance beyond the things that divide and fragment us. We need to advance the workplace protections and benefits achieved by our strong collective bargaining program and union structure. These gains directly benefit our members and indirectly benefit many other nurses whose non-union facilities must remain competitive with NYSNA-represented facilities.
We need to advance and continue to protect the practice of nursing. We need to advance and send to the governor legislation that we lovingly call “BSN-in-10,” leading the other 49 states to a viable solution for professional education. We need to advance our collaborative research work with the Foundation of New York State Nurses. We need to advance initiatives to solve our bedside nursing shortage, our nursing faculty shortage, and our nurse administrator shortage.
We need to advance the understanding that, in our profession, workplace and collective bargaining issues, nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing research are not parallel lines that never meet. They are intrinsically and irrevocably joined, so that a problem in one area ultimately impacts on the other areas.
We need to advance our membership so that all nurses – direct care staff nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse educators, nurse administrators, nurse researchers – feel at home in the “NYSNA House of Nursing,” because it is not our differences that really matter, but that which joins us – our concern for our patients.
I know that we will meet the challenge of these multiple “advances” because we are the Nurses Association and we are NYSNA nurses!