Miss Eleanor Dudley, at Harborview-King County Hospital, treats polio patient Mrs. Iris Roberts (1950)

Continued advances in economic security, legislation and standard-setting #

The 1950s witnessed WSNA’s continued activ­i­ties in the areas of economic security, legis­la­tion and standard-setting. In addition, the Associ­a­tion moved into the area of health manpower planning,” becoming one of six profes­sional associ­a­tions to be charter members of the Washington State Health Council. A long-range study on nursing resources and needs in Washington was completed, with assis­tance from U.S. Public Health Service and the Washington State League of Nursing Educa­tion. And, nurses were back again in the legis­la­ture, seeking amend­ments to the Nurse Practice Act as well as a collec­tive bargaining bill which would provide nurses in non-profit hospi­tals the right to negotiate with their employers.

1950 #

The Washington Nursing Study (a nursing supply and demand study) is completed by USPHS examining the nursing resources and needs in Washington state. Specific problems identi­fied are: distri­b­u­tion of RNs to rural areas, needs for improve­ments in nursing homes and homes for the aged and need for better analysis of nursing practice roles and functions to better utilize nursing skills.

1951 #

  • At the request of the 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.
  • A special committee on Nursing Service begins research on the Washington Study of Nursing Functions. 
  • Following exten­sive lobbying and support by ANA and the state nurses associ­a­tions, landmark legis­la­tion estab­lishing new Profes­sional Nursing Trainee­ship grants are provided under two titles in Public Law 911, Health Amend­ments Act of 1956.” The law provided for graduate training of profes­sional public health personnel under Title I; and advanced training of profes­sional nurses to serve in admin­is­tra­tive or super­vi­sory capac­i­ties under Title II. These were the first feder­ally-funded Nurse Traineeships.

1953 #

Lillian B. Patterson (former UW School of Nursing Dean and super­visor at Pierce County Health Depart­ment) is appointed by Presi­dent Truman as special Nurse Advisor to the World Health Organization.

1954 #

The 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 #

An amend­ment to the Nurse Practice Act provides regis­tered nurses with the authority to pierce the tissues to admin­ister prescribed drugs, injec­tions, inocu­la­tions, tests or other treatments.”

1957 #

  • Reluc­tance or refusal of employers to meet to negotiate and sign labor relations agree­ments with the nurses bargaining repre­sen­ta­tives precip­i­tates the WSNA Board of Direc­tors to direct the Committee on Legis­la­tion to draft a bill insuring labor relation rights of employees in health care. This bill was intro­duced in the Legis­la­ture and although not enacted, a House Resolu­tion is adopted directing the State 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.
  • The labor legis­la­tion proposed by WSNA in 1957 results in agree­ment by WSHA and WSNA on Four Princi­ples of Labor Relations” which estab­lishes basic ground rules for Labor Relations discus­sions between the hospital manage­ment and WSNA in its efforts to repre­sent nurses in hospitals.

1959 #

  • WSNA Board approves an Operating Manual for the Economic Security Program to serve as a policy guide for WSNA staff in carrying out the program. A written agree­ment on employ­ment condi­tions is signed for the first time between the Washington State Nursing Home Associ­a­tion and the WSNA.
  • Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane becomes the twenty-third hospital to sign a contract with WSNA. The contract covered 265 nurses.