ANA President: Get into Politics, Advocacy
While the ANA’s widespread efforts are necessary and noble, as an individual nurse just trying to get through your next shift, you may be wondering how exactly you can fit in. ANA President Dr. Ernest Grant, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, explained that there is a myriad of ways that individual RNs can get involved through the ANA to make a difference and also find the vital support they need. For example, they can:
- Get involved in policymaking at a local and state level
- Run for office at the local, state or national level
- Join a nursing board
- Join a professional organization
- Join a minority nursing organization
- Advocate, connect or volunteer through the ANA
Dr. Grant strongly urges nurses to consider joining a professional organization, explaining that without nurses lending their voices to the organizations that are making policies, it’s non-nurses who will be making decisions that affect real-life nurses. “A profession should be ruled and dedicated by the members who make up that profession, not someone else us telling us what we can and can’t do,” he noted. “It’s extremely important that you recognize the value of having your voice heard and joining your professional nursing association.”
He also pointed to the ongoing struggles with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as an example of just how vital nurses are, because without their ongoing input, it can be difficult to get that vaccine where it needs to go in an efficient manner. Nurses know how to get the job done and that’s why he hopes they share their experiences, whether that’s in a public way, like advocating for national policy, or in a more personal one, like being a face of diversity to show a 9-year-old who has never seen a health care leader look like him. The bottom line?
“Nurses need to be at the table,” Dr. Grant said.