NEW YORK NURSE: April 2011
by Erin Silk
NYSNA members Nathan Sull and Dorothy Pierre have been chosen to participate in the American Nurses Advocacy Institute (ANAI), a national program that trains nurses interested in advocacy to “improve their political competence” and prepares them to become leaders in the legislative arena.
Sull is a registered nurse at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, where he is membership chair of his bargaining unit and a Legislative District Coordinator (LDC) for NYSNA. Pierre is a registered nurse at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn. She is also an LDC and a member of NYSNA’s Delegate Assembly. Both attended the ANAI’s workshop in Washington D.C. in October where they networked with other members of the Institute and formulated their legislative focus.
The Institute’s preparatory workshops help participants learn to speak effectively about nursing’s legislative agenda. Sessions have consisted of topics including “How a Bill Doesn’t Become a Law,” presented by NYSNA’s Director of Governmental Affairs Shaun Flynn, or “Conducting a Political Environment Scan: Politics 101.” Visits to Congress and techniques for networking and coalition building are also integral to the year-long program.
The Institute is unique in that participants are charged with developing an action plan related to an issue of concern to their state nurses association. A mentor is assigned to help each participant with execution of the plan and participants provide regular progress updates to their mentors.
Sull is concentrating on the nurse-patient ratio bill, legislation that is a top priority for NYSNA. The bill is important to him because he believes reducing injuries at work, more responsible safeguards for staff and patients, and the prevention of on-the-job violence all hinge on establishing safe nurse-patient ratios. “The bottom line is that a national agenda to address safe patient ratios is a strong statement that we can do better for our patients and our nurses,” Sull said.
Moved by the opportunity to hear the President speak at this summer’s ANA Convention, Sull enthused, “Yes we can. And yes we did. I am now part of that concept – working to accomplish the great nursing goals ahead of us.”
For Pierre, who has been a nurse for three years, training and retaining new nurses is a top concern. She hopes to encourage legislators to allocate more funding for the preceptor programs that are vital to keeping competent nurses practicing. “I feel passionate that new nurses must be mentored in order to succeed,” Pierre said.
She also hopes to bring about positive policy change on issues that affect Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and patient care.
For more information about the ANAI, please visit www.rnaction.org.