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President's Address: Relevance
A message from ONA's Board President, Steve Rooney, RN

Relevance is the thought that runs through my writing today. A new book, The Race for Relevance, by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, is making the rounds in boardrooms of organizations large and small. It looks at the present and sees organizations that are not adapting to the new social order, new technologies and new wisdom, and provides suggestions on how to adapt.

One of the ideas contained within is a focus on boards that guide and direct organizations and what the appropriate size, composition and expertise should be. The authors primarily write about boards that choose their own members, but it does give those of us whose boards are elected democratically something to think about. This is especially true now, as members become busier both in their professional and personal lives.

The Board and staff will be using this resource, as well as other resources, as we attempt to plan for ONA’s future that serves our members and the profession . We currently have projects underway that are attempts to enhance the effectiveness of ONA.

Strategic planning is also actively underway. While difficult, a strategic plan is essential to our organization. It guides ONA daily in our operation and decisions as well as providing us a long range vision.

Traditionally, strategic planning would often involve many leaders from all across the organization, as well as many members of the staff. A consultant would be hired and ideas recorded on paper and stuck on flipcharts. At the end of the long day, the paper and flipcharts would be compiled into a "Strategic Plan”.

This draft plan, however, is being developed by senior ONA staff and begins with a look back at ONA and nursing. Where would the profession in Oregon be without ONA? Possibly no state license, certainly no independent practice for Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists and no collective bargaining exclusively by nurses for nurses.

The plan under development also takes an unblinking look at our weaknesses. By looking here, we will be able to plan for our robust future. Questions asked are: "how do we best serve our members?” and "What services best support the work of our members?” We must remain relevant to our members' daily practice and their goals for the future of the profession. We cannot be a vigorous and growing organization if we do not.

This plan will be brought to the Board early in 2012, and then presented for discussion at the 2012 Convention. I hope you will be there to give your opinion.

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Oregon Nurses Association
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