Minnesota Nurses Association Release: Minnesota Nurses Address Assisted Living, Cultural Diversity At 99th Convention

ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Nurses' safety, health, welfare, license and practice are all more secure and improved because of actions taken at the Minnesota Nurses Association's (MNA's) Annual Business meeting, held in Morton, MN from October 17 - 20.

The House of Delegates shaped a lean and keenly focused Legislative Agenda for 2005, directing MNA's energy into a few priorities, topped by 1. monitoring and advocating for health care changes; 2. funding for nursing education and nursing faculty and 3. protecting overtime pay.

For the next few years, the organization has committed to concentrate significant resources and energy in addressing a menacing problem that impacts the careers -- and livelihoods -- of nurses. The House of Delegate members undertook a major new initiative to make the health and safety of nurses a priority of the organization. "We can research, we can plan and we will implement budgets and strategies designed to improve conditions in the work environment of nurses, regarding workplace injury and abuse," said MNA President Monica Vollmuth, MA, RN, CNP.

It is no accident that MNA has honed its focus. MNA leaders took steps during this year's meeting to prioritize efforts designed to create efficiency, reduce cost and increase the effectiveness of MNA member dues dollars. In addition to health and safety in 2005, elected delegates chose to turn the organization's attention to 1. increasing political activism; 2. strengthening the union presence and increasing membership through internal and external organizing and 3. implementation of events and visibility surrounding MNA's Centennial Year.

The MNA Foundation (MNAF) awarded $45,000 to 24 nurses to help them advance their knowledge in nursing. The investment is considered well placed and the Foundation plans to continue funding scholarships at an even higher level of giving. "When we contribute to nurses, nurses contribute to nursing," said MNAF chair, Adella Espelin, RN, PhD.

Assisted Living Facilities

The situation in assisted living facilities is an utter mess. It is rank with nebulous standards of care and nightmarish working environments. That's why MNA is taking action to clean it up now. A task force developed specific guidelines that address the need for a common definition, licensure, resident rights and quality of care. MNA will use the strength of its membership to advocate advancements such as a registered nurse being available 24 hours, at least 8 hours on site; and that each assisted living facility has awake caregiving staff 24 hours per day.

Emergency Care Nursing

A task force examined the complex issue of the role of the Registered Nurse in the pre-hospital environment. Its resulting position paper supports that role and defines some of the barriers impeding the freedom of RNs to practice in the pre-hospital environment. The paper makes recommendations in support of the Emergency Nurses Association and the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association positions on utilization and education of RNs in this field, and in the creation of state wide trauma systems that incorporate RNs as a primary component of pre-hospital care; and advises nurses of some of their inherent rights and responsibilities as RNs if they choose to practice in this specialty area.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural competency in professional nursing practice has attracted significant attention in recent years as the population of the US has become more diverse. This past year, MNA's Commissions on Nursing Practice and Education reached out to several culturally diverse groups to promote dialogue and effective interaction. An extensive needs assessment survey was conducted among culturally diverse MNA membership garnering a strong picture that will help in future planning. Tangible "next steps" were recommended to include extending the discussion membership-wide, producing a video to help stimulate discussion topics; and to develop a robust resource page on MNA's web site.

Delegates also tried out a unique tool that could very well be instrumental in MNA's future planning, achievement and growth. "Think Tank :60" was a brainstorming session that generated creative energy, bringing together a wealth of perspectives. MNA's leaders are confident they have developed a successful foundation for innovation and integrated, well-planned strategies.

With more than 17,400 members, MNA is the leading organization for registered nurses in the Midwest and is among the oldest and largest representatives of RNs for collective bargaining in the nation. Established in 1905, MNA is a multi-purpose organization that fosters high standards for nursing education and practice, and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. MNA is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association and its labor arm, the United American Nurses.

Minnesota Nurses Association

CONTACT: Jan Rabbers, Public Relations, of Minnesota Nurses Association,+1-651-646-4807 or +1-800-536-4662, ext. 161, or cell, +1-612-860-6658,jrabbers@mnnurses.org

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