Advocacy Conference

Members shared ideas at one of the conference’s afternoon workshops.

More than 300 nurses from across New York State gathered in Westchester County on March 28 for a day of leadership training. The goal of the program was to advance the practice of nursing and develop nurse leaders who can address the challenges of our time.

NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, kicked off the day with an overview of what’s ahead for healthcare, the labor movement, and working families. Nurses, she said, must stand united to protect our patients and our practice.

Attendees received in-depth training on contracts as well as nurse and patient rights. They learned how to organize collective actions and empower LBUs to enforce contracts and stand up for patients and nurses.

Breakout workshops ran the gamut from how to use democratic processes to create change to skills building sessions on developing and writing resolutions, where nurses gave examples from their experiences in the trenches. According to Jennifer Gunderman, RN, Ellis Medicine Bellevue Woman’s Center, asking for a resolution in support of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act was surprisingly simple. “We started by initiating conversations with members of the Schenectady City Council,” she said. “And before we knew it, we were speaking with the Albany County Legislature.”

Sharing strategies

Peer-to-peer discussions included organizing and assertive grievance handling; how to identify and recruit new nurse leaders in the workplace; and how to wage an effective Protest of Assignment campaign, like the one in the Jacobi Medical Center Emergency Department. “We approached the problem of chronic understaffing as a unified team, and filed 123 POAs over a ten-month period,” Nadia Jackson, RN, Jacobi Medical Center, said. “By the time we finished, the hospital agreed to hire 18 new RNs.”

The Westchester leadership training conference was a resounding success. It was a first for Sohir Motten, RN, Erie County Medical Center, who said she benefitted immensely from the day’s interactions. “It’s edifying to learn that nurses are not alone,” Motten said. “Public or private sector, we all face the same challenges in caring for our patients and we all want to give them the best possible care.”

Nurse leaders will have another opportunity to come together for a statewide meeting on May 19 at NYSNA’s Public Sector/Private Sector Advocates Conference.

2017 Upcoming Leadership Training

In addition to statewide forums like the one on March 28, NYSNA offers an ongoing two-part series of localized leadership training:

  • May 16 - Sinai System (Part 2)
  • May 22 - North Country (Part 1)
  • May 25 - Southern Tier (Part 1)
  • May 26 - New York Presbyterian (Part 2)
  • May 30 - Hudson Valley/Westchester (Part 1)
  • June 7 - Hudson Valley/Westchester (Part 2)
  • June 15 - Staten Island (Part 1)
  • June 16 - Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center(Part 2)
  • June 27 - Hudson Valley/Westchester (Part 2)
  • July 18 - Sinai System (Part 2)

To register, or get more information, contact your NYSNA Representative. A complete 2017 schedule is available on

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