NEW YORK NURSE: June 2011
The National Federation of Nurses (NFN) has appointed veteran nurse Katheren Koehn as its new CEO. Koehn has more than 35 years of experience as a staff nurse and national nursing leader. A past president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, Koehn spent much of her career as a staff nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s spine unit in Minneapolis. At Abbott, she also served as hospital-wide co-chair for the nurses’ collective bargaining unit. Koehn is known for her ability to take knowledge and best practices from one area of work to better inform and improve other areas. Active as a leader-participant in many nursing and healthcare related boards, commissions, committees and task groups, Koehn has worked with the American Nurses Association and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. “I’m thrilled to join the NFN and work with a talented group of people about the issues that matter to nurses on the front line,” Koehn said. “I appreciate the transparency and social justice that NFN represents, and I look forward to promoting union collaborations and moving ahead together.”
Diane C. Earl, an RN at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, NY, was elected as NYSNA’s new director on the NFN’s executive board at the national union’s assembly meeting May 16 and 17 in Chicago. Earl will begin her four-year term in January 2012 and is taking over for outgoing director Winnie Kennedy. “The way to get the results you hope for is to participate,” Earl said. “We make a difference every day in our practice areas but need to continue to empower ourselves to effect change and advocate for our profession and those we care for. We need to have a strong voice and presence at all levels - local, state and national.” The NFN operates using a federated model, in which each of the member nurse labor organizations – currently the state nurses associations of New York, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, New Jersey, and Montana – have equal representation on the NFN executive board, and proportionate representation in the National Federation Assembly, the delegate body of the NFN.
The 2011 NFN Labor Academy, held May 14 and 15 in Chicago, focused on efforts to reduce violence against nurses. The educational forum featured first-person stories from NFN members who have experienced violence while on the job. NYSNA member Kelly McLean, who was attacked while working at Erie County Medical Center last year, brought the room to its feet to acknowledge her bravery. She spoke not only about the attack, which came only weeks into the beginning of her nursing career, but about the difficulties of returning to work and the need to change attitudes about on-the-job violence. Jéaux Rinehart, president of the Washington State Emergency Nurses Association, shared his personal story of experiencing violence and discussed why violence against nurses is under-reported. The two-day Labor Academy also included workshops on topics such as lateral violence, social networking and team development. The closing keynote was given by Stewart Acuff, chief of staff and assistant to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), who emphasized the need for worker solidarity to end the problem of violence. For more information about the NFN and its programs, visit NFN.org. Look for coverage of the National Federation Assembly in our next issue.