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 This law is later superceded by the changes to the National Labor Relations Act in 1974.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.
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.)