Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, MSN, FNP is the President of the 40,000 member New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), New York's largest nurses’ union. She's worked for more than 30 years as an Emergency Room RN in Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, as well as in a variety of other specialties in assorted health care environments. She is part of an active group of nurses engaged in transforming the organization into a social justice union, pledged to participate in uniting labor and community, in order to construct a movement dedicated to combat inequality and committed to social change.

"Only an activated, knowledgeable, and involved membership can make change happen. This is where YOU come in. Leaders are important, true, but it's the members who move mountains. Let's get going!"

While nurses across the state celebrated Nurses Week this year with food, conversation and social interaction in many of our facilities, there was a bittersweet sensation permeating the atmosphere.

On January 12, 1912, at several textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, one of the most important events in the history of the Labor Movement in the United States took place.

Nurses and health professionals are witnesses to the dramatic changes in healthcare over the past several decades.

“The complexity of managing a widely diverse range of patients cannot be solved by imposing staffing ratios — greater flexibility is needed.”

At the end of each year, people often try to count our blessings and offer thanks for the good things that have happened and to hope that the future will bring us closer to our goals. But for some reason, nurses tend to have this nagging feeling that somehow we didn’t do enough:

A recent nurse graduate in my facility approached me the other day, confiding her worries regarding nightmares she was having about work.

Forging unity is a critical goal; it can only happen when people see their common interests, instead of focusing on anger, fear and alienation.

As I write this column, our priority bill, the “Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act” (S.782/A.8580-A) – the bill that will set a maximum number of patients a nurse can care for at any one time – is