I am TNA.
Subject: Nursing associations (Services)
Nursing associations (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Author: Cowan, Sylvia Pile
Pub Date: 06/22/2012
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Summer, 2012 Source Volume: 75 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 293950421
Full Text: Over 50 years in the nursing field is a long time! My first experience in nursing began as a nurse aide working after school and on weekends in our newly opened hospital in Jamestown. It was during my nursing school days at UT Hospital in Knoxville that I was introduced to the Tennessee Association of Student Nurses. But, the real influence regarding the importance of belonging to one's professional organization was stressed by our nursing instructors. We were continuously encouraged to join our nursing organization upon obtaining our RN license! First, pass your state board, and then join your professional organization! Simple! Just do it!


Immediately after receiving my license, I started working as a Public Health Nurse and joined our little TNA District in Fentress County. One of my co-workers in PHN and I traveled every other month to attend the District meetings in Crossville. After a couple of years, I attended the University of Cincinnati to complete my BSN. I obtained my license in Ohio and joined the Nurses Association there. In 1968, I returned to Tennessee as PHN in Cookeville and immediately was elected secretary of District 9. Later, I served as Vice President and then District 9 President in 1971.

I have served as a delegate to many TNA conventions. I was honored to be elected as a TNA delegate to two ANA Conventions. It was at these national conventions that I learned about national nursing issues and how to follow parliamentary procedures in meetings! I always felt that I was representing RNs who were unable to attend the conventions, plus keeping myself updated on health issues and legislative concerns.

During these many years in TNA and ANA, I have served on numerous committees, councils, and boards of directors while working and raising two sons. After completing my MS in Health Planning and Administration at the University of Cincinnati, I worked in administrative roles in PHN in the regional and state levels. I also worked part-time at the VA Community Clinic in Cookeville and week-ends at a nursing home in Monterey.

After 35 years with the State of Tennessee, I decided to seek an adventure and moved to Alaska as an Itinerant Nurse Manager in Fairbanks. Upon obtaining my license in Alaska, I asked about the Alaska Nurses Association (AaNA) the first day on the job! We often met in -40 degree weather on the first Saturday each month. While there, I was elected District President. I found that if you attend meetings faithfully, you will be elected and can have a voice in your profession. I attended the AaNA conventions each year for over 10 years. At one of the AaNA Conventions, low and behold, there was Virginia Trotter "Ginna" Betts as our keynote speaker! Was I ever proud to see a familiar and warm face from Tennessee!

In the fall of 2009, after moving back to Tennessee to be with our grandchildren, I transferred my ANA membership back to Tennessee, although I had loved working and living in Alaska. Being an ANA member has meant so much to me. I have made friends all over this state and learned from my professional co-workers. I have been very impressed with the leadership in TNA and the guidance from these gifted individuals.

I would encourage all RNs to join their professional organization. If you are a new nurse, you can join for one-half price for one year and then utilize automatic monthly withdrawals. It's less than a latte a day to be a part of a great organization. I have often heard (usually while working on membership committees) "What does TNA do for me?" I want to ask "What have you done for your professional organization?" TNA gives you so much, and you will feel part of a "big family." If you are busy with your family, children, work, church, etc., at least join, pay your dues, and know that you are part of your professional organization. When time permits, then attend District meetings, be active, volunteer to serve on committees, serve as officers, attend the state convention, and represent your profession. TNA speaks for us and is our representative for all RNs! WE ARE TNA!

by Sylvia Pile Cowan, MS, RN, CNE-BC
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.