Bylaws Changes Made by Membership and Eligibility Criterion
- Title change from state representative to state liaison (SL). The change took effect after the 2022 election on June 26, 2022.
- The term changes from four two-year terms to two two-year terms. This change allows for a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms, rather than the four consecutive two-year terms. This change was first implemented in the 2023 AANP Election Call for Nominations (October 2022). This change was not applied to those who ran and were elected in 2022. SLs in Regions 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were elected under this new criterion in 2023. SLs in Regions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 will be elected under this new criterion in 2024. Those who have served more than the criterion allows (whether elected or appointed and considering the full term including the years the SL has already been in office) at the next election period will not be eligible for the position.
- The following change was implemented in the 2023 AANP Election Call for Nominations (October 2022). This change did not affect those elected in 2022. New Criterion — SLs cannot concurrently serve on a board, chair a committee or council, or be employed by a nursing certification or membership organization (including those whose products, services or interests overlap with AANP) unless the position is specifically designated to represent AANP’s best interests. SLs in Regions 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were elected under this new criterion in 2023. SLs in Regions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 will be elected under this new criterion in 2024.
Explanation for Criterion
- In today’s non-profit association world, a “duality of interest” is an increasingly common type of conflict of interest in which an elected or appointed leader has obligations to other organization(s) as well as to his or her “home” organization (i.e., AANP). In such a scenario, the obligation of loyalty would apply to each organization, but the leader’s behavior could end up advantaging one organization over the other. An example would be when an influential person is an elected/appointed leader of two different organizations and has overlapping responsibilities for driving advocacy, meetings, membership, or another overlapping agenda. This creates a direct conflict when there is any type of divergence in views or strategy, or where confidential information/tactics are received by the individual that could benefit the home organization but cannot/should not be disclosed due an obligation or loyalty to the other organization. These conflicts, and others, can result in either disclosing information that is confidential or withholding information that is relevant to a tactical approach of an organization, which could result in the loss of credibility, breakdowns in communication and relationships, perceived dysfunction by other members, and the ineffective use of finite resources.
- How do you define a nursing certification or membership organization? For these purposes, a membership organization is defined as being a membership organization that provides services to nurse practitioners (NPs) and NP student members that are compaprable to AANP’s benefits. A certification organization is an organization that offers certification to NPs.
- What is a position designated to represent AANP’s best interest? An elected or appointed position at another organization that is specifically designated to represent the best interest of AANP and that puts AANP first would qualify. Sometimes AANP is asked to recommend people for these positions or, at minimum, is made aware that the role has been established and of the rationale.
- If a person has a role with a Nurse Practitioner Organization (NPO) that currently intersects with AANP (e.g., chair of an NPO Legislative Committee and AANP SL), would AANP lose that connection? AANP would continue to work with the NPO and its designated contact(s) for the topic being discussed (i.e., a duality of interest does not need to be created for ongoing collaboration or conversations). Moreover, the expectations and intersections would be much clearer since a leader no longer has a duality of interest conflict.
- Is the SL position still a way for AANP to cultivate leaders? Absolutely. AANP needs a leadership pipeline that is diverse, inclusive, and growing. Having a mixture of experienced and upcoming NP leaders further strengthens that pipeline.
Examples of Duality of Interest Conflicts
- There are multiple NPOs in a state and the president of one NPO also holds the SL position. The NPOs disagree with each other over the position or strategy around a piece of legislation. This conflict can result in 1) the perception of favoritism toward the NPO with the president serving as the SL; 2) the SL being unable to put AANP’s obligations first due to the NPO obligation; 3) AANP being unable to gain valuable intel about legislation and organize the NPOs since AANP is not viewed as an independent stakeholder (i.e., lost credibility); and 4) AANP using its human resources to resolve communication and relational issues between the NPOs instead of advancing AANP’s legislative priorities.
- An SL is also the chair of a health policy committee for an NPO. A bill that AANP opposes in the state is advanced by the NPO. The SL lobbies for the bill in alignment with the NPO instead of being in alignment with AANP. This confuses AANP members as AANP takes one position and the elected SL leader publicly takes another position in alignment with the NPO.
- Information about a membership strategy is confidentially shared with an SL in preparation for rollout. The SL, who is also the chair of a national membership organization also serving NPs, then uses that information to roll out the same strategy at the other organization.
- The chair of the meetings committee at another national organization, who is an SL, is planning a meeting for NPs that is in the same month as AANP’s meeting and in the same region of the country. The SL is asked by AANP to use their network to promote the AANP meeting, which is viewed by the other national organization as potentially competing with attendance with the NPO’s meeting. The SL now must choose to:
- promote neither (disadvantaging both organizations because they cannot reach the SL’s network);
- promote both (highlighting the perceived competing meetings); or
- adhere to the obligations of one organization but not the other.
What if an SL believes a special circumstance exists that would not create a duality of interest conflict by serving as an SL and on the board, as chair or while employed at an organization with overlapping services? Not every circumstance can be illustrated or covered when discussing duality of interests. If you believe that no conflict exists although you are in dual roles, you will need to explain why you believe a duality of interest conflict does not exist. You could also share this document with the other organization and request a letter of support that the dual roles won’t cause a conflict (e.g., because it is a slotted seat for AANP, the other organization expects that the position will be obligated to AANP or for another reason). All such situations are subject to review and approval by the AANP Nomination Council and AANP’s governance and legal teams during the vetting process for SL candidates and appointees.