“It’s not enough to simply be in the parade: nurse leaders must be marching a block in front, waving the red flag of professionalism.”
– Katharine Densford, ANA president 1944-1948

As nurses around the country watch to see if Washington’s legislature will pass urgently needed breaks and overtime protections, it’s incredibly important to keep one thing in mind: the power nurses’ voices have owning our profession. The last few days nurses have illustrated the power they have when they are engaged. When push comes to shove, what else will we do as a profession? Will we stay engaged? Will you write your legislators on other issues? Will we keep the pressure on?

Over the last few days, nurses across the country have signed petitions, sent emails, and left voicemails by the hundreds and hundreds of thousands; we are talking about a massive level of engagement.

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We must keep it up. Nurses are power. Nurses are power, that is, when we are on the same team.

Research, focus groups, and studies show that nurses, as the most trusted profession, are powerful political advocates. When we speak, we are heard.

Hospitals and their lobbyists understand this better than anybody. Because of that, the number one tool in the hospital administration toolbox is “turn nurses against each other.” Take a look at the strategies they use across the country. It happened in Massachusetts. It’s happened with our national nursing organizations. And it almost happened here.

When we stand up and stand together, we CAN and do make changes. We have many issues needing similar attention such as bullying, workplace violence, and safe staffing. Will you stand with us beyond this week?

It’s amazing how nurses have unified around this one issue. But please get involved. Get engaged in your union. Come to our rally. Participate in the discussion on social media. Sign the petition. Like our page, share our posts, email your legislators: about this and about your day to day life in the profession. Talk to your coworkers.

Lean in to the profession—that’s how we win, for ourselves and for our patients.