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Now is the time to get involved.

Now is time to get involved! Involved with your professional organization, your nursing practice and your community.

Even the best nurse can do little to improve patient care and safety if they are operating in a bad environment. It is time for nurses to step forward and influence the health care environment like never before. But you don't have to do it alone. By joining ONA and getting involved with in it, you will have a voice to improve health care outcomes in Oklahoma ranging from health care in our schools to safety procedures in our hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.

Nurses need to have a say when legislation is written regarding work environments and staffing standards focusing on issues related to nurse to patient ratio and the number of hours worked per week, establishing protection for required reporting, needlestick prevention, medical lawsuit reform, Medicaid reform and of course issues related to the scope of nursing practice. The only way nurses can have a say is if you become an active member in your nursing organization especially ONA as well as also conveying nursing's positions on issues effectively in your community.

You have just as much to say about health care as a banker has to say about financial regulations, chamber of commerce about economic development incentives or as trial lawyers about lawsuit reform. What these individuals have in common is that they make sure that policy makers-- local, state and federal--understand their position on issues. With elections not far away this is especially important. You need to ask candidates as well as currently elected policy makers about their stance on issues such as healthcare, education and other important issues to you. Share with them your position, so that they understand what is important to nurses and healthcare providers.

Other services ONA provides include leadership opportunities. On the pages of this issue you will find nurses who are candidates for ONA Board positions and the nominating committee. These individuals have been involved with ONA in a number of different ways. Who will take their place when their shift is over? Will it be you?

A good place to start is with a committee--and there are several committees or taskforces that need volunteers. ONA has just recently established task forces on Ovarian Cancer and Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence). The Ovarian Cancer task force is working to develop awareness among nurses regarding Ovarian cancer among health care providers as well as their patients. One of the first activities of this committee is the Walk of Hope on September 24 more information is available in this issue and on our website. The task before the Intimate Partner Violence Task Force is developing strategies to promote awareness and provide educational opportunities as well as resources for nurses. It is our goal that nurses appropriately screen, assess and intervene with issues related to Intimate Partner Violence. Take a look at the interest survey below, fill-it out and send it in to the ONA office.

In addition to leadership and committee participation ONA needs members--ONA needs you. Members form ONA's united voice at the capitol.

We actively support legislation to advance nursing practice, provide guidance on new laws impacting nursing, and educate lawmakers and other policy makers about nursing priorities. ONA is a powerful political advocate because of this voice.

ONA also works on nursing practice issues, ensuring that nursing priorities are incorporated into legal and regulatory decisions affecting you. Another way is this publication, The Oklahoma Nurse. ONA's quarterly publication keeps you informed of legislation, changes in practice and current events affecting your profession.

ONA's voice at the legislature is only as strong as our numbers. It takes all of us joining together to make ONA strong. As an ONA/ANA member you'll receive these other valuable benefits:

* The American Nurse, ANA's official publication

* Access to information on ANA's and ONA's web site

* Access to the Center for American Nurses website

* Discounts to ONA-sponsored continuing education programs

* Reduced-cost professional liability insurance

* ONA's workplace advocacy program

* Retirement savings programs

* And many more benefits!

I hope that if you are not already a member that you will join today using the form included within this publication. ONA now has two options for membership ONA/ANA membership and state-only membership. The fee for ONA/ANA membership is approximately $19 a month for a registered nursing serving in a full-time employment situation. If you are new to nursing or are a student, discounts apply as indicated on the form. This is not a great deal of money when you consider the activities and benefits both organizations have to offer. If you are already a member, I encourage you to share your views as to why you are member and to get involved on a committee. Together we can make this association even stronger.

Jane Nelson, CAE Executive Director, Oklahoma Nurses Association
COPYRIGHT 2006 Oklahoma Nurses Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Executive Director's Report
Author:Nelson, Jane
Publication:Oklahoma Nurse
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:815
Previous Article:Professional growth: our own and the profession's.
Next Article:Juanita Granger Millsap.
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