Annual meeting guides ANA, nursing profession
Over 2 days in June 2023, more than 350 RNs from across the United States gathered in Washington, D.C., for a thoughtful, dynamic, and consequential meeting—the 2023 American Nurses Association (ANA) Membership Assembly. This governing and official voting body of ANA deliberated crucial issues that affect the nursing profession and guided ANA’s policies and actions on these topics, including virtual nursing, nurses’ role in gun violence prevention, and nursing documentation during a time of crisis (tinyurl.com/bp824s6t).
This annual conclave matters because the Membership Assembly leaned into its collective knowledge, insights, and experience. In so doing, we set the course not only for ANA, which represents the nation’s more than 5 million RNs, but also for the nursing profession.
In reviewing the 40 or more proposals submitted for consideration each year, the ANA Professional Policy Committee considers emerging and high-impact issues to bring before Membership Assembly. This year, the topic of virtual nursing resonated as many attendees already are seeing this innovation across practice settings. Delegates noted the promise of virtual nursing in reducing workload burden for direct care nurses. However, they stressed that it should support and add to direct care nurses’ efforts, not supplant nursing staff in ratios, matrices, or other measures of staffing levels.
A thorough discussion led the Assembly to recommend that ANA develop a national policy to address standardization of virtual nursing practice as a modality and consider funding and reimbursement models, as well as implications associated with licensure, regulation, and liability.
The Assembly also grimly observed that gun violence gripping our country has spilled into healthcare settings, traumatizing not only those directly wounded but also providers who witness colleagues’ physical and mental health distress. The Assembly called on ANA to advocate for meaningful legislation to address gun safety and firearm access. Notably, the Assembly also directed ANA to seek increased funding for research on gun violence against healthcare workers and in healthcare settings.
During the pandemic, inefficiencies in our documentation systems became glaringly obvious. Organizations individually determined the level of documentation needed, with differing inputs from and requirements of licensure, legal, and regulatory bodies.
The Assembly recognized not only the particular burden of documentation during the pandemic but also the ongoing stress this burden creates. The Assembly voted to generate a national consensus for research and policy development to reduce this burden, and to partner with regulatory agencies and stakeholders to review current documentation standards and revise policies that reflect a national standard for crisis documentation.
Before the Assembly, some 400 nurses and advocates met personally with Congressional representatives and staff members during ANA’s annual Hill Day, urging action to improve nurse staffing and nurses’ work environment (tinyurl.com/purdp9su). By sharing their personal stories, nurses made a powerful case for policy and regulatory changes.
I applaud all Hill Day and Membership Assembly participants for their commitment to ANA and the nursing profession. Their thoughtful engagement keeps us moving forward to more evidence-based practice innovations and standards, to an evolving yet always robust profession, and to our North Star—a healthy world through the power of nursing. Join in this journey by running for a Constituent and State Nurses Association, Individual Membership Division, or Organizational Affiliate representative position or by telling your story at 2024 Hill Day. Your voice, and your vote, matter.
Jennifer Mensik Kennedy,
PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, President,
American Nurses Association
American Nurse Journal. 2023; 18(9). Doi: 10.51256/ANJ092322