TNA President's Annual Convention address.
Subject: Presidents (Organizations) (Speeches, lectures and essays)
Trade and professional associations (Officials and employees)
Trade and professional associations (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Nurses (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Author: Brown, Laura Beth
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 71 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 540 Executive changes & profiles
Product: Product Code: 8620000 Professional Membership Assns; 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 81392 Professional Organizations; 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners SIC Code: 8621 Professional organizations; 8049 Offices of health practitioners, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 191286512
Full Text: I started my first editorial this time last year by thanking each of you for electing me, this year let me start by simply telling you what an honor it has been to serve the state of Tennessee and one of the most nurse-friendly states in America. I wanted to share with you my following speech from the TNA Annual Convention in October.


I have three key focuses to engage you in during this short address: one is accomplishments, two is strategic direction, and the third is the Power of One.

* TNA established a robust Capital Campaign to build the Tennessee Center for Nursing Excellence this year, and year-to-date we have raised more than $300,000 toward our goal of $2 million dollars

* We have had the most successful year in the

Tennessee Nurses Political Action Committee (TN-PAC) contributions, raising more than $9,000 before convention and exceeding our total PAC contributions collected annually in the past five years.

* We have created what I think is the most comprehensive policy and guidelines on both political endorsements and contributions. Our organization now has a process that not only seeks the legislators' opinions, but we track these through a formal survey process and balance their suggestions against past voting records and what our members say.

* We have created and implemented a coalition and policy development plan through our alliance with Southern Strategies Group that has enabled us to reach throughout the state and establish meaningful legislative relationships, recruit new members and advance members and the community on the knowledge of nursing issues.

* We have experienced a 10% increase in TNA membership in 2008-keep in mind we have had a flat line in membership since 2003-most associations in the nation are experiencing decreases, but in Tennessee we are on a growth curve. Not only have we grown in TNA, but we have increased state only membership by 30% since its inception in 2006.

* We are incredibly friendly in our organization with our willingness to be volunteers--of the 230 nurses who completed a TNA member volunteer survey, 87% of the respondents said they volunteer in an activity that utilizes their nursing expertise, 91% volunteer locally, and 13% of our Tennessee Nurses volunteer internationally. These members use their expertise in volunteering in the community and abroad--think about that ... Tennessee nurses are making a difference.

* Under the leadership of our Executive Director and her staff we have produced a balanced budget both in prior year performance and CY09.

* Our education efforts have surpassed prior year benchmarks in both applications for CE and provider applications.

* I believe that our state has the most inclusive approach to addressing nursing issues. The coalition between TNA, the Tennessee Organization of Nurse Executives, the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Center for Nursing, and the Board of Nursing is as collaborative and strong as I have seen. We should be very proud of the workforce efforts we have made in addressing work place issues with practical common sense solutions and not laws.

* Our legislative accomplishments were strategic and successful. Prior to the Legislature convening, TNA met with the Tennessee Medical Association and walk-in clinics over TMA's proposed supervision rules of APN's for the Board of Medical Examiners. TMA has delayed any further discussions on these rules in large part because of our intervention.

School Nurses

A legislative study committee released a one-page report in March on the health crisis in public schools. While the committee recommended increasing the school nurse to student ratio, a funding mechanism was not identified. The Departments of Health and Education voiced support for this issue on numerous occasions, as did multiple legislators. TNA hopes to work with the Administration and the Legislature next session to increase the presence of school nurses in Tennessee.

Volunteers Administering Medications

The Tennessee Epilepsy Foundation passed legislation that allows trained volunteers to administer seizure medications in schools. While TNA voiced strong opposition to the original bill and provided testimony at almost every committee meeting, the Legislature passed the bill. However, we were successful in getting the bill amended to require a joint report from the Departments of Education and Health be filed with the Legislature on the status of the school nurse program and details on seizure medications being administered by volunteers in schools.

Advanced Practice Nurses Co-Owning Professional Limited Liability Corporations

TNA proposed and passed a bill that adds Advanced Practice Nurses to the list of medical professionals who can co-own a PLLC with a physician.


TNA's partnership with Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration on the Tennessee Graduate Nursing--Loan Forgiveness Program was funded in the Governor's budget and passed by the Legislature. In a tight fiscal year, this was a major success for TNA.

Long-Term Care

Gov. Bredesen demonstrated once again his commitment to health care by proposing changes to the delivery of home based care. While TNA was originally concerned over volunteers being granted authority in the Nurse Practice Act, TennCare Bureau officials confirmed that volunteers could only be used in the home health setting for these purposes and would never be permitted in the nursing home setting to use the exemption. TennCare also assured TNA that a member would be involved in the rulemaking process.

So what is the challenge going forward? I am so proud, as I know you are, to be a member of a profession who is at the forefront of advocacy for comprehensive health care. In nursing's policy agenda, we have advocated a new paradigm of health care for the state that emphasizes:

* Health not illness

* The patient not the provider

* Communities not institutions

* Early prevention rather than late intervention

* And a value for quality of care not just cures.

You see our charge is to think outside the realms of nursing as we know it today. It is to determine safe work environments, respond to the research that says nurses are not safe working extended hours without breaks, respond to the demand for more faculty--not just with salaries, but by studying the issues that affect our quality of education, and being prepared to respond to the nursing shortage differently.

You see we've just touched the surface ... think about the young child that was born in 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts. During the Civil War, she carried supplies to soldiers and nursed the wounded, for which she was called the "Angel of the Battlefield." Her legacy didn't end there as she founded the American Red Cross--educated at home, she became a school teacher and her only medical experience was nursing an invalid brother.

And think about Mother Cabrini, born in 1850 and declared a Catholic Saint in 1946, she was the thirteenth child of an Italian farmer. She trained to be a school teacher and established the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to teach poor children. In 1889, she came to America where she opened many orphanages, schools and free healthcare clinics--you see our challenge is bringing practice to education and education to practice--and in all ways the patient must be at the center of our motives--not the profession.

I encourage us to learn from others on how to problem solve--when we have discussions about unlicensed assistive personnel and their boundaries let's examine the broad scope of engineering--it's a profession that employs persons with varying degrees of ability and training. Engineering enterprises require the services of three groups: professional engineers whose primary functions are planning and directing; technicians, skilled in developing details of the plan and in supervision; and skilled laborers, whose manual dexterity and experience are needed to carry out the plan--does it remind you of the RN-LPN-CNT roles? We have the solution in addressing the issues before us; actually Esther Lucille Brown identified these for us in 1948. She was a social anthropologist at the Russell Sage Foundation for more than 30 years. Among her contributions were ground-breaking studies of the professions and stimulation of the development of medical social science. Her research on nursing stimulated professionalization and nursing education's move into the university. The accuracy of her research findings on nursing and psychosocial aspects of patient care led many to assume that she was a nurse. Our next challenge is nothing short of reinventing nursing as we know it today.

So, I will end now with a story on the Power of One. Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, founded an organization in 1958. This group evolved from one person's determination and drives to influence change and policy--it started as the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Dr. Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging and in response to the need of retired teachers for health insurance. At that time, private health insurance was virtually unavailable to older Americans; in fact, it was not until 1965 that the government enacted Medicare, which provides health benefits to persons over age 65. Dr. Andrus approached dozens of insurance companies one by one until she found someone willing to take the risk of insuring older persons. She then developed other benefits and programs, including a discount mail order pharmacy service. Over the years, NRTA heard from thousands of others who wanted to know how they could obtain insurance and other NRTA benefits without being retired teachers. After 10 years, Dr. Andrus realized the time had come to create a new organization open to all Americans. Today, we know this as AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons). In 1963, Dr. Andrus established an international presence for AARP by founding the Association of Retired Persons International (ARPI), with offices in Switzerland and Washington, D.C. Today, AARP is 38 million strong. It is an active group-52% of voters in the 2006 mid-term elections were 50 and older.

You see, one person can influence many. Dr. Andrus is a force of social change.

Regardless, of your allegiance and associations, I hope you leave here this week with a changed mind on how you plan to influence the people you serve, and I can't go any further without mentioning get out and VOTE.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and TNA staff, I want to express our deep appreciation for your response in attending this event. We would also like to thank our many sponsors and exhibitors this year for their ongoing support and education.

So as you make your journey through this convention to go to places you may be called, needed or personally desire, go in peace and may God abundantly bless each of you in the work you do for your noble profession for it is said, that all work that is worth anything is done in faith.


AARP. "A Life of Service."

Brown, Esther Lucille. Nursing For the Future. New York, Sage Foundation 1948

Davis, Kenneth. Don't Know Much About Anything Else. New York: Harper Collins, 2008. 7, 15.

by Laura Beth Brown, MSN, RN TNA President
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.