Our History

1900   1920   1940   1960   1980   2000
  1910   1930   1950   1970   1990  

  = WSNA Event
  = ANA Event

1901 ANA helps secure passage of federal legislation creating the Army Nurse Corps, Female.
1908   The Washington State Graduate Nurses Association incorporates.
1909   The state of Washington's first Nurse Practice Act is passed due to efforts of WSNA Legislative Committee and nurse lobbyists. On April 18, 1909, the first Board of Nurse Examiners is appointed by the Governor. In September 1909 the first examination is held in Seattle for one applicant.
1918   Nurses are urged to join the armed forces. The first WSNA president, May S. Loomis, is in charge of nurse recruitment for the state. WSNA goes on record asking for military rank for nurses in support of ANA's position.
1920   ANA pushes for rank for registered nurses in the armed services. Congress passes a bill giving partial rank to nurses.
1922   Seattle hosts the Biennial Convention of the American Nurses Association, attended by more than 4,000 delegates. A police band meets the special convention train and escorts the visitors to the convention site--the newly redecorated YWCA building.
1922   In WSNA's continuous campaign to improve the Nurse Practice Act, an amendment is passed abolishing the waiver of examination for nurses who had graduated before 1911.

Etta B.Cummings, the first treasurer of WSNA, dies and bequeaths her estate to the Association to establish a fund called the Etta B. Cummings Memorial Fund; "the interest on such a fund to be used for sick and worn out nurses in the state of Washington."
1925   Unity of effort made possible through the WSNA Private Duty Section is instrumental in the promotion and eventual statewide adoption of 12-hour duty for private duty nurses. By the end of 1925, acceptance of the 12-hour duty is reported from Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Wenatchee, Walla Walla and Grays Harbor.
1929   On January 1 the first issue of "The Bulletin," the official publication of WSNA. Later, The Bulletin's name is changed to the "Washington State Journal of Nursing." Members today receive ANA's tabloid, "The American Nurse," and "The Washington Nurse."
1930   WSNA districts concentrate their efforts on fund-raising projects to help their members who are on relief due to the constantly growing problem of unemployment during the "great depression."
1933   WSNA is successful in its efforts to extend and improve Nurse Practice Act. New provisions call for the appointment of a supervisor of nursing schools.
1934   NA adopts an 8-hour day resolution.
1936   A scholarship fund is established as a memorial to May S. Loomis, first president of WSNA. The fund, still available to members, is specified to be used for loans to graduate nurses for further education.
1938   The first General Duty Nurse Standards of Employment are approved by WSNA's Board.
1941   ANA supports creation of a Cadet Nurse Corps and helps defeat draft of registered nurses, as more than 100,000 nurses volunteer for service.

General duty staff nurses express unrest and dissatisfaction due to salaries and working conditions.

A bill to license all who nurse for hire is drafted by WSNA and introduced into the legislature, but is not enacted.
1943   The WSNA House of Delegates authorizes the Committee on Standards of Employment to establish certain minimum standards for nurses in hospitals, to apply throughout the state of Washington. In August 1943 the Joint Committee of WSNA and the Washington State Hospital Association vote to send each hospital or employer suggested regulations affecting the employment of graduate nurses.

The first educational program of practical nursing in the state is started at Edison Vocational School in Seattle. WSNA is represented on the Advisory Committee which sets up the program and acts in an advisory capacity after it is established.
1945   ANA helps secure laws giving commissioned rank to army and navy nurses.

WSNA, with the cooperation and help of practical nurses, drafts a State Nurse Practice Act that provides mandatory licensure for all who nurse for hire. The Act is passed by the Senate but dies in the House.
1946   ANA endorses the 8-hour day, 40-hour week and calls for elimination of discrimination against minority groups in association membership.

ANA obtains professional status classification for nurses in U.S. Civil Service.
1947   WSNA drafts legislation providing mandatory licensure for both professional and practical nurses. This bill is not enacted by the state legislature.
1948   WSNA House of Delegates adopts the Economic Security Program to advance the economic and general welfare of nurses through appropriate means including Labor Relations.
1949   ANA is accredited to the United Nations as an observer.

Through the efforts of WSNA, the state legislature unanimously passes a revised and improved Professional Nurse Practice Act. At the same time a permissive Practical Nurse Practice Act is enacted
1951   At the request of Practical Nurses Association of Washington State, a Joint Committee of WSNA and the Washington State League of Nursing Education prepares an outline for extension courses for practical nurses.
1954   WSNA Board of Directors approves the "Economic Target for General Duty Nurses." Contents of this document are discussed in negotiations on a statewide agreement with the Committee on Personnel Policies of the Washington State Hospital Association.
1955   ANA helps to pass a bill to commission male nurses in the Reserve Nurse Corps and outlines the definition of nursing for legal purposes.

WSNA successfully seeks amendment of the Nurse Practice Act to all RNs to pierce tissue.
1957   Reluctance or refusal of employers to meet, negotiate with and sign Labor Relations agreements with the nurses' bargaining representatives precipitated the WSNA Board of Directors to direct the Committee on Legislation to draft a bill insuring Labor Relations rights of employees in health care activities. This bill was introduced into the Legislature and although not enacted, a House Resolution was adopted directing the Legislative Council to "study the problem of the adjustment of labor relations in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care activities" and to report their findings to the 1959 Legislature. This action by the Association resulted in agreement by WSHA and WSNA on the "Four Principles of Labor Relations" which laid down some ground rules for Labor Relations between their members.
1958   ANA supports extension of social security to include health insurance for beneficiaries of old age survivors and disability insurance.
1961   ANA seeks legislation to bring nurses in nonprofit hospitals under the Labor Relations and minimum wage provisions.

WSNA secures mandatory licensure for registered nurses by successfully amending the Nurse Practice Act.
1963   ANA testifies before Congress in support of civil rights legislation, Medicare, equal pay for equal work bills, federal aid to education, amendment of Taft-Hartley, Federal Salary Reform Act, extension of minimum wage provisions and unemployment compensation insurance provisions to non-profit hospitals.

Another improvement in the Nurse Practice Act sought by WSNA allows LPNs to give medications under proper safeguards.
1964   ANA's spearheading efforts secure passage of federal legislation establishing separate funding for assistance for nursing students and schools of nursing when Title VIII, Nurse Training, is added to the Public Health Service Act. Since that time, ANA has effectively lobbied for improvements and extensions in the Nursing Training Act which provides for scholarships, loans and traineeships as well as support to institutions.
1966   In June 1966 ANA House of Delegates identifies nurses salaries (average staff nurse salary at the time is $4,700 while factory workers and secretaries are receiving $5,300-$5,350) as being incredibly out-of-kilter in the general economic picture. For the first time, a national salary goal of $6,500 for beginning practitioners was declared. A boon at the time for many nurses, the salary goal triggered a national upturn in nurses salaries.
1969   Following many years of effort by ANA, the Federal Minimum Wage and Hour Law is extended to professional employees in hospitals, nursing and other residential homes, elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. This coverage resulted in the first broad implementation of the policy on the 40-hour week and time and one-half overtime pay as previously adopted by the ANA House of Delegates.

WSNA once again introduces legislation proposing Labor Relations rights for employees of non-profit health care facilities. This bill is not enacted.
1970   The same Labor Relations bill is reintroduced into the legislature, but WSNA is not successful in two attempts, in 1970 and 1971, in securing its passage.
1971   In July 1971, following years of effort by WSNA, the Governor appoints the first nurse to the State Board of Health.
1972   The bill drafted by WSNA to secure Labor Relations rights for employees of health care facilities is passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

The WSNA House of Delegates adopts a resolution establishing a "political arm" of WSNA (PUNCH--Politically United Nurses for Consumer Health).
1973   ANA wins first of several favorable rulings from a District Director of the Equal Opportunity Commission on charges that retirement benefits for women employees by the nation's largest university pension underwriter are discriminatory.

In May 1973 ANA formally announces initiation of a nationwide certification program recognizing nurses' competency in specific areas of practice.

WSNA successfully lobbies for passage of amendments to the Nurse Practice Act that include a new definition of nursing and provide for the expanding role of the nurse.

WSNA also successfully pursues amendments to the state's Disability Insurance Act that require health plans issued by commercial insurance companies in the state of Washington to pay for covered services provided by registered nurses.
1974   ANA helps secure passage of amendments to the Taft-Hartley Acta that extend Labor Relations rights to employees in health care facilities.

ANA designs and offers its own group liability insurance plan to members at substantial savings over individual plans.

ANA Board of Directors approves establishment of a political arm, N-CAP (Nurses Coalition for Action in Politics); continues support and testimony for national health insurance, the Nurse Training Act, Health Manpower, Health Planning, Indian Health Care, Child Health Screening, Nutrition for Elderly, and other legislation of interest to nursing.

In July 1974 the nurse member of the Washington State Board of Health is appointed chairperson of the Board.
1977   ANA is successful in amending third party pay bill to use term "primary care provider" rather than "physician extender." Efforts continue to secure passage of this legislation which provides reimbursement for services rendered by RNs.

WSNA succeeds in amending a measure before the legislature to provide that nurses authorized by the State Board of Nursing may prescribe legend drugs.
1979   WSNA adopts a position on the future system of nursing education which delineates preparation for two distinct levels of practice, a professional and an associate level.
1981   WSNA secures passage of a bill that mandates the Health Care Contractors (Blue Shield/Blue Cross) to reimburse nurses for their services if the Health Care contractors would have paid a physician for the service.

WSNA works with the State Department of Social and Health Services to devise a system that will acknowledge nurses as providers and reimburse them for their services.

WSNA position "Entry into Practice" reaffirmed by the House of Delegates.
1982   WSNA was one of the authors of the proposal adopted by the ANA delegates of a modified federation structure. This set forth the states as the members of ANA.

WSNA amended PUNCH Bylaws to allow the addition of candidate endorsement within the organization's policies.
1983   WSNA adopts the WSNA RN Bill of Rights.

WSNA, along with other groups, successfully lobbied passage of Comparable Worth legislation.

WSNA supported the action of the Washington State Board of Nursing in deleting its prohibition against certified registered nurses with prescriptive authority from dispensing medications.
1984   Two nurses run for the Washington State Legislature.

WSNA is instrumental in gaining recognition from the Department of Labor and Industries that first surgical assisting by RNs is reimbursable.
1985   ANA successfully encouraged legislation to override the President's veto and establish a National Center for Nursing Research.

WSNA lobbies as part of a coalition to gain successful passage of Worker Right-to-Know legislation.

WSNA gains passage of Nurse-Patient Privilege Communications bill after being reintroduced for seven years.
1986   WSNA was a key to the formation of the Cooperative Association of Labor Management: Washington State Health Care (CALM).

WSNA supported and passed legislation modifying the functioning of Health Care Assistants.
1987   WSNA supported the successful passage of the State Employees Dependent Care Program automatic deduction of day care cost from gross pay before taxes are taken.

WSNA participated in a joint task force with the Washington State Board of Nursing on the chemically dependent nurse and developed a plan for 1988 legislation supporting a diversion program.
1988   WSNA successfully lobbied the passage of the Nurse Forgivable Loan Program. This was the first program of its kind in the nation.

WSNA member Margarita Prentice, appointed to Washington State House of Representatives.

ANA fights for nurses' right to have all RN bargaining units.

Passage of Nursing Assistant Law, introduced by WSNA, ensures nursing controlling nursing. Thus, RCTs as put forth by the American Medical Association could not be established in Washington state.

Nursing Network, WSNA-WONE-CNEWS, establish the Washington State Commission on Nursing. WSMA joins with nursing to bring resolutions for the nursing shortage forward.
1989   WSNA helps defeat Felony Neglect Bill which would have placed nurses in jeopardy of being charged with felony neglect for short staffing and poor funding in nursing homes.

With other nursing organizations, developed Master Plan for Nursing in Washington State.

WSNA Cabinet on Human Rights commissions and produces play by Jerry Kraft on elder abuse. Play is presented at WSNA Convention to standing ovations.
1990   Washington State Nursing Foundation reactivated.

Assignment Despite Objections form redesigned.
1991   Due to pressure from ANA, state nurses associations and most other nursing organizations, AMA reverses its stand supporting a plan to train "Registered Care Technicians."

WSNA wins ANA organizing grant for workplace advocacy issues.

First Nursing Administration/Education Summit held under co-sponsorship of WSNA, WONE and CNEWS.

First all-Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Summit held under sponsorship of WSNA.

WSNA publishes "Third Party Reimbursement for RNs In Washington State," the first booklet in the nation to explain federal and state payment systems for RNs.

WSNA succeeds in placing RNs, ARNPs and Midwives in ESHB 1960, which calls for the development of a Health Personnel Resource Plan. The plan is intended to improve health care recruitment and retention in Washington State by monitoring supply and demand issues for health professions shortages.

Supreme Court rules to endorse the appropriateness of all-RN bargaining units. ANA's testimony was deemed critical in this recognition.
1992   WSNA publishes Guidelines for RNs in Giving, Accepting or Rejecting an Assignment.

WSNA develops comprehensive position on Health Care Reform.

WSNA succeeds in obtaining positive recommendation to the legislature from the Department of Health on need for expansion of ARNP prescriptive authority.
1993   WSNA is successful in having recommendations favorable to nursing incorporated into the first Washington State Health Personnel Resource Plan. Several of these recommendations would remove artificial barriers to ARNP practice.

WSNA, in conjunction with the Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists and organized medicine, passes legislation which authorizes nurse anesthetist practice in its current scope, to forestall Board of Pharmacy's threat to block delivery of drugs to nurse anesthetists.

WSNA establishes the Cabinet on Nursing Research and pilot project on ARNPs United as affiliate organization. Both were special interest groups under the Cabinet on Nursing Practice and Education.
1994   Supreme Court rules that LPNs in an Ohio nursing home are supervisors and not eligible for Labor Relations under the National Labor Relations Act. WSNA braces for the effect on RN organizing.

WSNA responds to request by Alaska Nurses Association to assist with organizing and establishing an economic and general welfare program. The result is one of the first Shared Services Agreements in the country.

WSNA supports recognition of violence as a public health problem and the importance of reducing violent behaviors through education and treatment.

WSNA supports legislation that would make an assault on a health care provider a Class C felony.
1995   WSNA General Assembly approves bylaw amendments to allow RN organizations to have affiliate status with WSNA.

WSNA General Assembly directs the Association to gather data related to restructuring and redesign........(and) disseminate this data to the professions, agencies and consumers.

WSNA establishes lifetime and honorary membership categories.

WSNA wins ANA grants to 1) launch a leadership certification program and 2) strengthen a local unit from within.

ANA/WSNA launch Every Patient Deserves a Nurse media campaign.

WSNA successfully limits the proposed legislative expansion of delegation of nursing tasks to Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAPs).
1996   WSNA secures passage of legislation establishing clinical sovereignty for decisions regarding postpartum care for new mothers and their newborn children. Insurance carriers would be prohibited from denying eligible, covered postpartum services ordered by an attending provider (including ARNPs), including in-person follow-up care.

WSNA secures passage of legislation to protect the privacy and safety of health professionals by removing their residential addresses and phone numbers from public disclosure unless the professional requests otherwise.

WSNA successfully joins forces with other health care and social service organizations to preserve funding for the Basic Health Plan, Medical Assistance Program Expansions, and the Public Health Improvement Plan.

WSNA successfully defeats legislation limiting the practice of surgery by non-physicians.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issues Providence Anchorage decision reaffirming that charge nurses and team leaders are not supervisors and are entitled to representation. Ballots cast in August 1994 are opened and the Alaska Nurses Association wins by 3:1 margin. WSNA/AaNA file an Unfair Labor Practice when Employer refuses to bargain.
1997   WSNA achieves passage of legislation that prohibits anyone other than an ARNP, RN, or LPN from using the professional title "Nurse."

Passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

WSNA becomes founding member of the UAN, creating the largest national union of registered nurses; affiliated with both the ANA and the AFL-CIO.

2002   WSNA wins landmark legislation protecting nurses from mandatory overtime.
2003   WSNA reaches over a million people with the "Nursing - a Career for Life" PR campaign.
2004   In order to address the growing nursing shortage, WSNA and other nursing groups collaborate to establish the Washington Center for Nursing.
2005   With support from WSNA-PAC, eight RNs now serve in the Washington State Legislature - the most of any state in the country.

Founded in 1908, WSNA is the professional organization representing more than 16,000 registered nurses in Washington State. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of health standards and availability of quality health care for all people; promotes high standards for the nursing profession; and advances the professional and economic development of nurses.

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The Washington State Nurses Association Continuing Education Provider Program (OH-231, 9-1-2015) is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.