NEW YORK NURSE: October 2010
by Erin Silk
NYSNA’S Past Presidents Advisory Group gathered on Sept. 13 to discuss association business with regard to nursing education, increased Voting Body participation, and implementation of the recently passed Violence Against Nurses law.
Past presidents attending the meeting included: Elaine Beletz, Nettie Birnbach, Verlia Brown, Mary Eileen (Mel) Callan, Susan Fraley, Juanita Hunter, Madeline Naegle, Linda O’Brien and Robert Piemonte. Current NYSNA President Karen Ballard presided over the meeting.
NYSNA’s Director of Governmental Affairs, Shaun Flynn, gave the group an update on the association’s top legislative priorities – addressing violence against nurses , educational advancement, and holding facilities accountable to the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act (Disclosure). Beginning Nov. 1, it is a felony to assault a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse while on duty. Disclosure, which stipulates that facilities reveal their nurse-patient ratios and other quality indicators to the public, has been in effect since July 2009, yet few facilities are complying with the regulation.
The group held a lively discussion regarding hostility and violence in practice environments. Concern was raised over implementation of the new violence law and it was recommended that the topic be addressed in nursing education programs. It was also suggested that NYSNA provide continuing education on how to prevent and properly report violence, as well as specific training for dealing with violence in the psychiatric setting.
The Educational Advancement for Nurses bill made headway this spring when NYSNA participated in a joint lobby day in Albany with the Coalition for Advanced Nursing Education (CANE). The past presidents suggested that an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education might give the bill more exposure, and help demonstrate the legislation’s national ramifications for nursing education.
The past presidents discussed ways to address the decline in Voting Body attendance. It was agreed that barriers to participation include a weak economy, a general misunderstanding that NYSNA’s annual convention and biennial conference are only for those members represented for collective bargaining, and a lack of knowledge about NYSNA’s quality continuing education offerings.
The past presidents suggested encouraging members to invite their colleagues to Convention and the Biennial Conference, recruiting members from the American Academy of Nursing to present continuing education sessions and hold an expert panel, and embracing issues relevant to all of nursing. A past presidents panel, such as the one conducted at this year’s ANA House of Delegates meeting, was also recommended. Suggested topics for an expert panel discussion included translation of research to practice and educating faculty about what new nurses are experiencing in the contemporary practice environment.