1,500 Seattle-area nurses participate in a city-wide strike (1976)

Legislative activity with focus on passing laws advancing nursing practice and providing for the economic welfare of nurses #

The 1970s were a time of great achieve­ment: changes in the Nurse Practice Act allowing nurses to diagnose and prescribe treat­ments and medica­tion; major improve­ments in salaries and working condi­tions; the estab­lish­ment of PUNCH, the polit­ical action committee of the associ­a­tion (now called the WSNA-PAC) — all were among the signif­i­cant events of the times. 


WSNA adopts the first WSNA Legisla­tive Platform. 


Nurses in the Seattle area come within 3‑hours of a Seattle area-wide strike. 


  • After many years of lobbying, WSNA achieves successful passage of a labor relations bill that provides for binding arbitra­tion if negoti­a­tions reach an impasse and a strike is inevitable. This law is later superceded by the changes to the National Labor Relations Act in 1974. 
  • WSNA estab­lishes a state polit­ical action committee, PUNCH (Polit­i­cally United Nurses for Consumer Health) later re-named WSNA-PAC. The WSNA-PAC was one of the first nursing polit­ical action commit­tees in the country and was used as a model by ANA when it estab­lished their PAC, N‑CAP (now the ANA-PAC), at the national level. 


  • WSNA success­fully lobbies for passage of amend­ments to the Nurse Practice Act that includes a new defin­i­tion of nursing and provides for the expanding role of the nurses in advanced practice roles. Washington becomes the first state to recog­nize the advance practice nurse as an indepen­dent” provider. 
  • WSNA success­fully pursues amend­ments to the state’s Disability Insur­ance Act that requires health plans issued by commer­cial insur­ance compa­nies in the state of Washington to pay for covered services provided by regis­tered nurses. 


  • Deo” Little elected ANA First Vice-President. 
  • Landmark changes made to the National Labor Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act providing nurses and hospital employees with the rights to organize and collec­tively bargain for wages, hours and working conditions. 
  • The Washington State Board of Nursing unani­mously approves the Special­ized Regis­tered Nurse/​Advanced Regis­tered Nurse Rules and Regula­tions. Washington state now has the most progres­sive nurse practice act in the country! 
  • Governor appoints six regis­tered nurses and one public member to the newly expanded and restruc­tured State Board of Nursing. 
  • Contin­uing educa­tion for nurses becomes high priority issue and the WSNA House of Delegates adopts a resolu­tion to imple­ment a Contin­uing Educa­tion Recog­ni­tion Program (CERP) by the Spring of 1975. 
  • ANA supports amend­ments to the National Labor Relations Act extending collec­tive bargaining rights to RNs employed in health care facilities. 


  • WSNA-initi­ated HB 536 (the Health Insur­ance Contrac­tors bill) passes, requiring health care contrac­tors, including Blue Shield, Blue Cross, to pay for services of regis­tered nurses and certain other licensed health profes­sionals. A similar bill had been passed in 1973, but vetoed by the Governor. 
  • The Joint Practice Commis­sion, consisting of the execu­tive commit­tees of the WSNA and the Washington State Medical Associ­a­tion, begin to meet monthly to discuss prescribing of medica­tions, quality assur­ance, peer review and to explore areas of poten­tial collaboration. 
  • Six state nursing specialty organi­za­tions and WSNA meet for the first time as the Feder­a­tion of Specialty Nursing Organizations. 


  • First WSNA strike at 15 of 18 Seattle area hospi­tals, involving more than 1,500 nurses and lasting two months. 
  • National Certi­fi­ca­tion programs for nursing special­ties begin. Sondya Rose of Port Angeles, becomes the first nurse in the State of Washington certi­fied by the American Nurses Associ­a­tion for her excel­lence in geriatric nursing practice. 
  • ANA certi­fi­ca­tion of Adult-Family Nurse Practi­tioners is especially timely in view of federal legis­la­tion which amends Title 18 of the Social Security Act to allow use of Medicare funds to pay for rural health clinic services provided by nurse practi­tioners, nurse clini­cians or other trained practi­tioners who were certi­fied as Adult-Family Nurse Practi­tioners by the ANA. 
  • The Washington Board of Nursing adopts regula­tions on CRN” Prescrip­tive Authority. 

1977 #

WSNA achieves passage of Senate Bill 2090, Prescrip­tive Authority, providing for advanced practice nurses (CRNs) autho­rized by the State Board of Nursing to prescribe legend drugs. The bill was signed into law by Governor Dixie Lee Ray.


WSNA holds 7 Regional Forums on Entry Into Practice” in 1978 and an additional 42 forums across the state in 1979. WSNA receives national ANA Human Rights Award in recog­ni­tion of achieve­ments in the area of affir­ma­tive action in nursing. 


WSNA adopts a position on the future system of nursing educa­tion which delin­eates prepa­ra­tion of two distinct levels of practice, a profes­sional and an associate level. 


The Washington State Legis­la­ture approves the Contin­uing Educa­tion for Relicen­sure Bill, HB 450, with an overwhelming yes vote. The Governor signs the bill effec­tive April 1979, and shall be termi­nated on January 1, 1986 unless extended for additional fixed time.” The law requires nurses to meet certain CE require­ments for relicen­sure. (The bill was allowed to die in 1986.)