Questions asked about mobile voting and electronic attendance at meetings: First, how can we use electronic media or mobile devices to increase voting? Second, what can be done to support members who cannot attend meetings and increase involvement?
With regards to the first question, you make an important point regarding the decline in voting since it has become electronic. We are facing a unique time in our profession where there are 4 different generations engaged. For instance, my mother is a newly retired CRNA. She is not the most skilled with electronic voting and needs some coaching through the websites to get her where she needs to be to actually vote, but as a member of our Association for over 35 years, she knows the importance of voting. The newer generation can easily get online but does not see how the vote affects them. We have seen an election won in the past year by one vote – so yes – every vote literally does count.
So, what do we do? I think we need to poll a few distinct groups, based on years out of school. We need to poll our new grads, we need to know what is important to those who have been out 10 years, 20 years, what about Past Presidents and BOD members? With healthcare reform, will we light a fire so to say under less active members to see the importance of voting for our national board members and other representatives? I hope so! If their jobs or salaries are challenged or threatened, who will these people turn to for help? Unfortunately it seems that some will not act unless their own norm is challenged. We also need to make sure that our members are aware that they can mobile vote now through their smartphone and tablets as Joe Lesser mentioned.
Second, I believe we need to explore ways to increase membership attendance at meetings.
From my position statement: “With work commitments, money constraints, and family matters often making it difficult for CRNAs to travel to the Annual Meeting, we need to explore ways to virtually attend a meeting where important discussion and votes occur. “ I believe there needs to be a better way to have more attendance at the business meeting than just those who can physically be at the meeting. We saw a peak attendance last year for the business meeting because a very important vote occurred, however there were many other members who were unable to physically attend due to the reasons mentioned above (and the amendment passed by less than 2 votes!). There were members who spent a great deal of money just to be at the business meeting, only to turn around and catch a flight right back out. We need a better way.
There are many things to consider when we look at electronic media and virtually being present at a meeting. Members have asked for streaming of the business meeting – we need to consider and perform a cost analysis. There is also a security element that needs a discussion. Perhaps we can have an online forum, like the candidate forum on the AANA website, where there remarks and discussions about the proposed bylaw amendments and resolutions can be made before the meeting (so these important dialogs can be heard first) then a virtually vote made at “meeting time” whether you are able to physically be present at the meeting or not.
In addition, we need to explore a way to pass amendments and resolutions other than a once a year meeting. With healthcare as dynamic as it is now, our Association needs to be opportunity to be dynamic as well if needed. Thank you for your question. I look forward to more discussion on this topic.