NEW YORK NURSE: March 2009
by Patricia Kane, RN, Chair, NYSNA Council on Legislation
“Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.” – President Barack Obama, Inauguration Speech, Jan. 20, 2009.
The past year’s Presidential election served as a strong reminder of the power of collective action, of what can be accomplished when a group of dedicated individuals get together to advocate for change.
The history of NYSNA is marked by the collective power of nurses coming together to shape their destiny and the direction of health care. It is that same dedication by individual NYSNA members that led to this past year’s landmark mandatory overtime law.
While the 2008 legislative session was one of the most successful for the Nurses Association in decades, 2009 will be one of the most difficult in our long and distinguished history. Once again we are challenged by the prospect of hospital closures, severe Medicaid cuts and the possibility of renewed attacks on the Nurse Practice Act.
Against this backdrop, we must push our legislative agenda forward against one of the wealthiest oppositions in New York. Once again NYSNA members are called upon to meet these challenges.
In 2009, NYSNA is leading the fight for staffing ratios, educational advancement for nurses, safe patient handling programs, and increasing the penalties for assaulting nurses. We will continue to advocate for a real investment in nursing education and greater recognition of advanced practice nursing. We will demand that our patients be protected from severe healthcare cuts and push the state to take a stronger role in ensuring quality care. NYSNA will continue to send a clear message; we will not tolerate attacks on nursing practice that threaten quality patient care.
None of this will be possible without the involvement of all of our members. We urge all of you to join us in advocating for the legislative agenda during the 2009 session. Whether you write a letter, attend Lobby Day on April 21, or encourage others to get involved, your efforts are essential to our continued success.
History has shown that real change starts when individuals decide that they will not be taken for granted anymore, that they will take charge of their destiny by getting involved. In the great struggle that lies ahead of us, no nurse can afford to be left on the sidelines.