By Teresa Combs, PhD, PMH-NP
I attended the American Nurses Association’s House of Delegates (HOD), June 14-16, 2012 as an Invited Guest. This allowed me to witness the retirement of the ANA HOD. The HOD has been the official governing and voting body for the ANA since 1980. The HOD sessions were instructive as well as challenging to watch. A major purpose of the meeting was to complete the transformation of the HOD amendments and by-laws to transition to a smaller and more responsive organization. This change aims to offer greater attention to individuals’ state associations and to help to drive the ANA into the 21st century. I also hope that this change may increase the participation of younger nurses as well as racial and ethnically diverse nurses.
Involved in this process were mature and committed nurses. I felt proud to be a nurse as I watched the process and how the members were respectful of one another in the face of significant differences. At the close of the session the ANA HOD was retired and the Member Assembly was inaugurated.
As I sat in the chamber witnessing what I believed was unprecedented change in the ANA; Barbara Nichols, RN, DHL, MS, FAAN (the first African American president of ANA) made a point of personal privilege noting “I was here for the birth of the federation and was opposed to it; I am pleased to be here for the demise of the federation.” She later shared with me her opposition to the inception of the HOD. She also noted other struggles she experienced during her term as the president of ANA.
After this brief exchange I was reminded that change is inevitable and cyclical. How we experience it depends on where we enter in the process. I was honored to sit at the retirement of the ANA HOD and the beginning of the ANA Member Assembly.
MFP Fellow Dr. Teresa Combs (2nd from left) posing with the delegation from the Virgin Islands to include MFP Alumni Dr. Gloria Callwood (Left)