AORN Blog - The Periop Life

Why I Vote (and How I Make Time for It)

A Conversation with Mary Alice Anderson, MS, RN, CNOR

AORN Voting Matters

February 23, 2018     

Mary Alice Anderson, MS, RN, CNORThe importance of getting involved in your professional practice organization was ingrained in me early in nursing school. So, when I landed my first job and paycheck in 2013 as a perioperative nurse, I joined AORN.

Several months later I went to my first AORN chapter meeting and really enjoyed getting to know such a dynamic group of nurses. One nurse in particular, Terri Goodman, took me under her wing and inspired me to use my youth and social media savvy to build our chapter’s relevance to the community and share upcoming activities, including discussion about the AORN national election.

To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the candidates or interested in the politics. After hearing from my chapter delegates on why they voted and how nurses elected to office might affect my practice, I felt much better about voting. Afterwards, I became more interested in AORN business and policy agenda.

In the process I was surprised to learn that there are many opportunities through AORN to advance my professional skills, beyond the day-to-day clinical skills I was advancing in my daily practice. I became more involved in understanding how the AORN guidelines shape our practice and are created, and I found my passion in evidence-based practice. I studied and passed the CNOR exam and further realized how the guidelines give standardization to practice through research and give me peace of mind that I am doing the best for my patients.

During my third year of perioperative nursing I became a Dallas chapter delegate for AORN Congress. This gave me the chance to not only hear about the issues AORN national candidates were discussing, but to also meet the candidates and get a feel for the true passion driving their efforts to be elected to AORN office (not to mention getting to experience AORN’s annual meeting in person!).

Right then I saw firsthand how association dialogue unfolds around critical issues that impact those of us on the frontline, such as our education. It was this experience that inspired me to pursue my masters in nursing.

Ever since I cast my first vote in an AORN election, I’ve felt more connected to AORN activities, and I’ve learned that evidence-based practice is not just something we learn in school but something we can use to advocate for our patients.

Voting for AORN national candidates and connecting with my Dallas chapter is an amazing way to find and strengthen my voice as a perioperative nurse. Finding this voice is something that has empowered me in all aspects of my life, including my journey to earn my PhD and my mission to be healthy, mindful, and inspired for my patients.

Time is a precious commodity in my life, and I know it’s the same for all nurses, but I’ve found a few ways to make time for voting and involvement with AORN at the national level. Here’s how:

  1. Meet up with local chapter members to talk about the slate of candidates and the issues we want to hear discussed by our elected national office members.
  2. Engage with colleagues through Facebook and Twitter to talk about the candidates and issues we want AORN to know are important to us. Use the hashtag #AORN2018.
  3. Check out the candidate bios and video election statements to get a feel for the candidates and issues they believe are important.

It’s no secret that perioperative nurses are an older profession and a wave of retirements is on the horizon. I want to make sure my voice as a member of the younger generation of perioperative nurses is heard, not only in my OR, but also on a national and even international level to shape the future of our practice.

Additional Resources

You can vote online, at Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2018 in the voting booth in Hall H, or by using the AORN Expo 18 app (you’ll find 2018 AORN National Ballot and Candidates on the dropdown menu).