Membership in ACNL: Say it Loud. Shout it Out. Again!

By Karen F. Flaster
Chief Operating Officer
HRN Services

Shout it out within your organization, among friends and colleagues, to your up and coming leaders, to those who will take your place in years to come and don’t forget those current leaders who set the pace and mark the course ahead.

We all know what membership means: to apply, be selected, to belong. The dictionaries offer an added definition: as a distinct part of a whole. Further defining association offers a definition and words such as: an organization of persons having common interests, purposes, fellowship, and companionship; a connection in the mind between ideas, sensations and memories. Moreover, the act of associating adds more words like relationship, assistance, fellowship, affiliation, participation, bond, friendliness, socializing, camaraderie, connection, cooperation, agreement and community.

It is the lifeblood of ACNL. Without membership, we lose our ability to experience the act of associating with leaders who are capable of contributing to the growth and strength of our organization, as well as our professional development. We cannot be heard without members. We cannot shout it out and say it loud without an engaged membership. We lose our voice to others!

In a word, this is about civics - a definition, in part from Wikipedia, referring to the processes and procedures followed in actually exercising and acquiring power. While often attributed to an individual, the ACNL voice is powerful and must be heard in order to influence healthcare and effect positive change for nursing and the quality of healthcare within our state now and for the future.

How can you make a difference? 
First, by recognizing that it is not enough to have a small group of our members and board representatives who serve on committees, volunteer their time and often lean on those near and dear to support their commitment to make a difference. Also, to understand that we use our creative abilities, our expertise, our vision and energy and sometimes our frustration with the status quo to strive for more - to better our performance.

Most of all, you are the difference!
Look around you, are there leaders by title and accountability who are not yet members of ACNL? Do you endorse the organization and promote participation and advocate its mission?

Health care and nursing are in the national news and the political platforms - we need to sieze the opportunity to promote membership in our organization and its mission to be a part of the education and influence that makes news.

It is clear that most everyone has a heightened awareness of the demand for healthcare now and in the coming years. One cannot avoid discussions about baby boomers, orthopedics, the latest prosthesis, increasing costs, the uninsured and advancing technology. From stem cell research to advancing cancer vaccines, the impact is surreal.

Individually, we each have a voice to influence. But, driving meaningful and lasting change takes the strength of our collective voice through a strong, engaged and growing membership. This makes the Association of California Nurse Leaders one powerful voice.

You can be a force to contend with by stepping forward to voice how important membership is to ACNL's mission.

Go out there and Shout It Out! Say It Loud! Remember, you make the difference...if each current member recruits one new member, we will double our membership, our strength and our voice.

As Golda Meir said: "Nothing in life just happens. You have to have the stamina to meet the obstacles and overcome them".