What does professional activism look like?

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.