200130 web pro activism

What comes to mind when you hear the term profes­sional activism?” Images of picket signs and strike lines? Press confer­ences and letters to the editor? Politics? Social justice? Environ­men­talism? What about labor manage­ment meetings, commit­tees and workgroups, relation­ship building and education?

Profes­sional activism is the engage­ment of skilled and compe­tent profes­sionals utilizing strategic campaigning to achieve a goal.

In nursing, it is nurses coming together to assess a need and identify the problem, design and imple­ment a plan to address the issue, evaluate that plan, and repeat until the problem is solved. Sound familiar? It’s the nursing process applied to the profes­sion instead of a single patient.

Nurses already know how to be activists. It’s collab­o­ra­tive advocacy with a plan. We’re already advocates for our patients, so why can’t we expand our perspec­tive to see that we can make a valuable impact beyond the bedside? We can. Nothing is stopping us.

Imagine what we could do if all nurses, at every level of the profes­sion and across all settings, came together to solve issues like staffing, workplace violence, quality care, fiscal respon­si­bility, transi­tion and growth within our industry. We would change the world.

One of my mentors told me something I live by to this day: Leave the patient at least a little better off than how you found them, and you’ll know you’ve made a differ­ence.” I challenge every nurse, regard­less of your position or title, to decide for yourself right now: What are you willing to do to leave our profes­sion better off than when you came into it? What will your legacy be? What will that look like? What are you waiting for?

What will it be?

Educate yourself
Seek out quality educa­tion to improve your leader­ship skills and under­standing of the business of health care. You need to under­stand the business to form effec­tive arguments for change.

Find your passion
What gets your heart pumping about the profes­sion? Good or bad. Put a plan in place to promote the good; change the bad.

Find an outlet for this energy. Union nurses, call your repre­sen­ta­tive or organizer and talk about your options within your union. Non-union nurses, talk about what you care about with others and invite them to join you in your efforts. ANY RN, regard­less of their practice area or title, can and should be a member of WSNA as your state profes­sional nurses association.

Call WSNA today, and we’ll help you find your place. Join a committee, run for elected leader­ship position, volun­teer to do educa­tional outreach, connect with your commu­nity. Advocacy is what WSNA does, and we invite you to join us today.