NEW YORK NURSE: July/August 2010
NYSNA members attending the American Nurses Association’s 2010 House of Delegates (ANA HOD) had the experience of a lifetime when they were greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama on the gathering’s first day.
The President spoke for 20 minutes and wholeheartedly thanked the nursing profession for its dedication, compassionate care, and advocacy. These qualities, he said, make “nursing the beating heart of the medical system.” President Obama promised to ensure that nursing remains at the forefront of healthcare reform because nurses understand the complexities of the system and know how to fix it. He also joked that he “never breaks a promise to a nurse because you never know when you may need a shot.”
To view President Obama’s entire address to the 2010 HOD visit the ANA’s website at www.nursingworld.org, and enter “Obama speech” into the “search” window.
After the excitement of the President’s visit, the house got down to business and passed several bylaws amendments and reference reports during the next three days. Significant bylaws amendments passed included the continuation of the dues escalator and revised language under the “Function of ANA” that ensures that ANA will continue to be a labor organization and “support the constituent member associations’ right to engage in collective bargaining and workplace advocacy.” The one amendment to the bylaws that did not pass was an extension of ANA officers’ terms from two years to four years.
Reference reports included support for such issues as health care for undocumented immigrants, mentoring programs for novice nurses, and allowing advanced practice RNs to sign and certify home care plans. The program also included a panel discussion on healthcare reform led by past ANA presidents and the presentation of 18 awards, seven of which were awarded to NYSNA members.
At one point during the HOD meeting, NYSNA President Karen Ballard rose to the microphone to request a ‘point of personal privilege’ and asked the entire ANA delegation to call the office of Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) to help move NYSNA’s “Educational Advancement” bill out of committee and to the Assembly floor. Although that did not happen, later that day Ballard also rose to announce that the “Violence Against Nurses” bill had been passed in the New York State Assembly and was awaiting signature by the Governor.
“As part of the LDC network, I realize what tremendous effort and persistence it took from the LDC representatives, and especially the staff in NYSNA’s governmental affairs department, to make this bill a success,” said Nathan Sull, NYSNA delegate and legislative district coordinator (LDC) in western New York. Sull said it was a “privilege and honor to be a delegate” and said he plans to participate in the future.
In all, NYSNA sent a total of 132 delegates, including 65 first-time delegates, creating an enthusiastic energy for the meeting. First-time delegate Pat Barozie described ANA’s HOD as a “wonderful learning experience” which she was proud to be a part of. She thanked NYSNA staff for “a job well done.” Denice Lutgen was one of the lucky few able to shake hands with President Obama. She said that the President looked her in the eyes and said, “Thank you for your work.”
The house concluded on Saturday with the installation of the newly elected ANA officials, four of which are NYSNA members: Karen Ballard, 1st vice president; Barbara Crane, director-at-large; and Eileen Letzeiser and Nancy Campbell-Heider, Council on Nursing Practice and Education. Many first-time and returning NYSNA delegates expressed their appreciation for being part of the delegation and are looking forward to returning in 2012.