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oklahoma nurses association c.a.r.e.s program

The ONA Workplace Advocacy Initiative

What is the Workplace Advocacy Initiative?

The ONA Workplace Advocacy Initiative is a planned, organized system of services designed to address practice challenges facing today's nurses and provide them with consulting and tools to help resolve workplace problems and concerns.

This initiative, known as the Oklahoma Nurses Association C.A.R.E.S Program (Consulting for Advocacy, Rights, Empowerment & Services) places an emphasis on empowering nurses to advocate for themselves. We are working to ensure that nurses have resources available to them 24/7, as well as a workplace consultant to assist them in advocating for themselves. Our goal with this program is to develop nurses who are educated on their options, skilled in avoiding common workplace conflicts, and fully supported in presenting concerns and speaking up for their rights.

What Causes Workplace Issues for Nurses?

While there are many issues, and many contributing factors, we think the root cause for nurse frustration is the inability to resolve professional practice issues satisfactorily within the organization. Most common issues can be resolved by taking concerns through the chain of command. When that chain of command breaks down, ONA C.A.R.E.S is here to help get you back on track to resolving your problem.

The Workplace Advocacy Initiative is an ONA member benefit that is here for you should the need arise. The profession of nursing is complex and challenging enough, without adding the stress of unresolved workplace conflict. Know your rights and let ONA help you to advocate in a professional way. Through these services and education, we will empower you to resolve your workplace issue. ONA CARES - About YOU.

Strive to Overcome Workplace Issues Before They Start.

Before working with the C.A.R.E.S program, empower yourself to spot potential workplace pitfalls ahead of time and defend yourself by understanding your rights and exactly what your employer expects from you. Here are some basic proactive strategies to set the tone for a healthy workplace environment.

A = Accountability

    • Give input when asked - employee surveys, feedback to managers - Speak Up!
    • Take responsibility for your workplace - Always work to improve communication.
    • Challenge individuals to work through conflict assertively and constructively.

B = Build Bridges

    • Enlist your managers to help you - share your needs and concerns.
    • Use the "chain of command" appropriately. Work within the system. Consult the HR Department at your organization if the chain of command process does not result in a response to your concern, while bearing in mind the response received may not always be the one that you feel is correct in the moment. Chain of command responses may also take time to assess and take action, as well.
    • Support the "team".
    • Reach out - welcome and partner with new staff and agency nurses.
    • Try to understand your managers needs and concerns, not just your own.

C = Communicate

    • Document your concerns in writing - write memos to your manager.
    • Keep your message Clear, Consistent, Concise and Centered on issues.
    • Stress how your concerns are/will affect patient care.
    • Keep a positive attitude. Help any disgruntled team members focus on solutions.
    • Support each other and use any support systems in place in your agency (educators, chaplains, peers, resilience/work/life balance materials, etc.).

D = Develop Your Skills

    • Learn more about: assertiveness (communication and behavior), conflict resolution strategies, negotiation.
    • Read nursing journals to keep up with the latest information.
    • Join professional organizations like the Oklahoma Nurses Association if you are not currently a member; we need your energy and talent to make this happen!
    • Attend conferences and professional meetings to learn more about communication, conflict resolution and your rights regarding workplace issues. 

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