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New national association to unite Indian nurses

By A Correspondent
July 19, 2007 01:33 IST
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An organization aiming to bring Indian nurses in the United States under one umbrella at the national level has been launched. The National Association of Indian Nurses of America, registered as a nonprofit in the state of Illinois, unveiled its logo at its recent inaugural session in Houston, Texas, according to Molly Sam, a spokesperson.

The chief guest at the inaugural session, United States Representative Nick Lampson, unveiled NAINA's logo. India's Consul General S M Gavai also spoke on the occasion. Dr Mi Jag Kim, professor and dean emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago, lit the inaugural lamp. Lorraine Steefel, a writer for Nursing Spectrum, released the souvenir.

Among NAINA's goals are the maintenance of a national organization of professional nurses of Indian origin, and to educate and help them pursue their professional, social, and cultural needs.

The Association will strive to achieve acceptance and recognition from groups like the American Nurses Association, the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurses Associations, the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association, the Trained Nurses Association of India, International Council of Nurses, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association.

Through newsletters, Web sites, and publications, NAINA will, among other things, promote political awareness of relevant health laws, fund availability, professional regulations, practice standards and labor laws.

The history of professional Indian nursing in America started with the major migration of nurses in the early 1970s and 1980s.

Many of them sacrificed their professional goals and aspirations for their families in the US, Sam said. Through hard work, dedication and perseverance nurses of Indian origin have proven their professional abilities and succeeded in attaining key leadership roles in almost all fields in nursing and health care, she said.

At present, in every part of this country, Indian nurses are an integral part of the main workforce in the field of nursing. With higher education and a commendable work record, they have attained higher positions. Many hold highly visible leadership and administrative positions in hospitals, universities and other health-care facilities.

"Yet, up until now, we, nurses from India, were not very successful in uniting under one professional body to champion our unique nursing causes and challenges," Sam said.

"In our quest to establish our roots at personal or professional level, we were not able to give much attention to our own community-specific nursing issues. Unlike many other ethnic minority nurses in this country, we were not very successful in uniting or in organizing a national nursing association. The few brave ones who tried to unite or to initiate changes were either not successful or not able to sustain the initial success, due to lack of support and commitment from fellow nurses, families and or the community," she said.

"With the formation of NAINA, we have started a new chapter in our professional nursing history in America. With commitment and dedication of few Indian nursing leaders during the past two years, we were able to establish a National Association for all nurses of Indian origin and heritage in America.

"With countless hours of work, and with a successful and commendable democratic election processes by the committee, the first officers of NAINA was put in place," she said, adding, "Let us unite at national level as a unified body of professional nurses from India, regardless of our diversity, age, gender, or language."

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