NEW YORK NURSE: June 2010
by Mark Genovese
“It was an important investment in the ways that we can make a difference for our members,” said Nathan Sull from Erie County Medical Center. Sull was one of 10 NYSNA members who took part in the inaugural National Federation of Nurses National Labor Academy.
Held May 10 through 12 in Chicago, the event drew more than 100 nurses from across the nation for intensive training programs designed to build strong nurse leaders. The three-day event focused on critical issues of nursing and labor importance. “So much happened, it took me a couple of days to digest!” Sull added.
The keynote presentation given by Dr. Karen Daley was titled “From Adversity to Advocacy: Creating Change Beyond the Bedside” in which she discussed her work as a national advocate for legislation to mandate use of safer needle devices after a needle stick injury resulted in her own infection.
A workshop on “The Art of Confident Negotiating,” by Lorraine Seidel, NYSNA Economic and General Welfare Program Director, focused on the “art” and “character” of negotiations, interrelationships among interests, and rights and power.
NYSNA E&GW staff conducted workshops on “Just Cause and the Burden of Proof” which promoted nurses’ rights to engage in patient advocacy measures, including identifying legal factors such as whistleblower laws and contractual just cause provisions; and “Ethics, Malpractice and Union Representation,” which reviewed the laws and regulations that govern nurses who act as union representatives in a nurses union.
Other forums included:
The event included a reception that offered networking opportunities for members from Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.
Attendees felt that as important as the workshops, was the opportunity to network with other registered nurses and union members from across the nation. They shared experiences about how they navigated through key issues in their workplace – such as safe staffing, overtime, and member involvement. “To have all these RNs under one roof with one objective was the most positive aspect of these two days,” said Victoria Arrick from Westchester Medical Center.
The academy concluded with an inspiring presentation “Winning for Nurses, Winning for Patients, Winning for America,” by renowned labor leader Stewart Acuff, which brought nurses to their feet.
“The Labor Academy was a meaningful and fantastic experience,” Sull added. “I’m looking forward to sharing the wealth of knowledge we received with the leadership of my bargaining unit back home.”