United Federation of Teachers
Cora Shillingford has been a registered nurse since 1982 and currently works as a visiting nurse in New York City. Her role in the Visiting Nurse Service of New York is to work in the community with persons who require skilled nursing care. In addition to providing nursing care, Shillingford also performs health teaching and counseling and offers guidance to people about how to attain their optimum level of health. Her goal as a registered nurse, she says, is to offer an individualized plan of care for each and every person, helping each to attain a better quality of life.
Shillingford also provides assistance and guidance to her co-workers as a team facilitator assigned to the Congregate Care Program of the VNS. "I wear my VNS uniform proudly and always stress to all the importance of wearing the uniform," she says. "I stress professionalism to all our union members." She stresses the importance of providing quality care to clients, doing proper documentation and adhering to VNS policy and procedures.
Shillingford's union position as chapter leader at the VNS of New York to the 2,500 professional nurses represented is equally important to her. When she is not communicating with the office and field staff in the Brooklyn office on a daily basis, she is in one of the six regions where the VNS provides service, "talking to the nurses about professional issues and concerns while emphasizing the significant role of the union in providing each of us with the basic rights to practice professionally." She has participated in negotiations and legislative activities at the state and federal level. She handles grievances and participates in leadership workshops, conferences and meetings.
Shillingford also meets the new professional hires on their first day at the VNS to provide union orientation. She uses this opportunity to give some history of the VNS and the Federation of Nurses/UFT. She serves on NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council, the NYSUT Legislative subcommittee and the AFT's Leadership Council.
She says, "I am proud to be a union member."