Congratulations to all ASNA members, colleagues, nonmembers and friends of nursing around the state who e-mailed, wrote and phoned your State Representatives and Senators to push for final passage of our ASNA-sponsored Workplace Violence Bill this legislative session! This much-needed protection for Alabama nurses now makes it a Class C felony, punishable by 1-10 years in prison, to assault a nurse or other Healthcare worker in the workplace. For all of our nurses in the state, this is very definitive evidence of the leadership and outstanding support provided by ASNA for our profession, and will directly impact the safety of staff nurses at their jobs. A round of applause goes to ASNA Executive Director Joe Decker and our ASNA lobbyist, attorney Don Eddins from Auburn, who worked diligently to push our legislative agenda during this year’s session in Montgomery. Kudos are also due Ruth Harrell, who went the “second mile” as ASNA Legislative Committee Chair to help with this winning effort. Ruth and her entire committee have earned our thanks. This has truly been an exciting year for ASNA in the legislative arena.
Let me briefly talk about the term “accountability” as it applies to our profession. As a professional nurse, we should continually learn and improve our skills and our knowledge of nursing. By doing that, we remain accountable to our wonderful profession and show the world the value of skilled nursing every day. Let’s look at a specific example of how you can impact your job. Suppose the hospital at which you work is starting a new policy, and has invited the staff to sign up individually for a 15-minute discussion session with the nurse manager and administrator. Perhaps some of the staff has already discussed the new policy among themselves, and you have some concerns. Nurses, this is your opportunity to have direct input to senior leadership at the hospital and to provide meaningful comments to improve the way you do business. Don’t miss the chance to have an impact. If you only talk among yourselves, but don’t provide feedback to the hospital leadership, you completely miss the opportunity to make positive changes in the workplace. Make sure that you have all the facts and documentation you need, and be ready with positive suggestions to implement changes you believe will improve the situation. Complaining may make you feel better in the short run, but will do nothing to fix a problem. But a well thought out, constructive comment can make a huge difference in the way you are perceived and in the results you achieve. Try your best to be a team player, and be part of the solution-not part of the problem.
Finally, I again encourage all of you to join your professional association, and become active in ASNA. Working on a committee, getting involved in legislative issues and becoming a leader in the nursing community will be tremendously empowering for you both personally and professionally. There are tremendous challenges and opportunities in the medical arena today, and the pace of change is accelerating. Make every effort to be the best you can be, and you can truly make a difference in our great profession.
by Janet Donoghue, BS. RN. SANE-A
Copyright Alabama State Nurses’ Association Jun-Aug 2006
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