Decade of stabilization and rebuilding

90s

Nurses display signs during an informational picket in Tacoma (1995)

The determination to keep WSNA alive and viable was evident among the leadership and members of WSNA. Following the raids, membership in WSNA dropped below 5,000. The 1990’s were about recovery, rebuilding and healing wounds. Other trade unions attempted additional raids, but were not successful. WSNA began the long, arduous process of rebuilding. This was an era of “restructuring, down-sizing, right-sizing and re-engineering” in the health care industry. Cost-containment was the name of the game. Layoffs occurred and support positions were eliminated, even as the complexity and acuity of patients grew. This led to many nurses leaving the profession and sowed the seeds for the next nursing shortage. Yet nurses also were in increasing demand in the policy arena. WSNA members were invited to sit on many state boards and commissions, including the Commission on Nursing Shortage, Long Term Care Commission, Perinatal Steering Committee, Developmental Disabilities Council, Statewide Steering Committee on Adolescent Pregnancy/Pregnancy Prevention/Parenting, State Board of Health, Nursing Assistant Advisory Committee, Oversight Committee for Nursing Forgivable Loan Program and the Board of Registered Nursing.

1990

Washington State Nurses Foundation is reactive.

1990

Nurse Legislative Day in Olympia attracts 450 registered nurses and nursing students.

1990

WSNA wins reimbursement dispute between King County Medical Blue Shield (KCMBS) and two WSNA members who are Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners. KCMBS agrees to reimburse the two ARNPs for their services and to reimburse all “independently practicing nurses” (ARNPs) in the future.

1991

First Nursing Administration/Education Summit is held under co-sponsorship WSNA, WONE (Washington Organization of Nurse Executives) and CNEWS (Council of Nurse Educators of Washington State).

1991

Rosa Franklin, WSNA Member, elected to Washington State Legislature.

1991

The WSNA Health Care Access Task Force issues 8 position papers on health care reform issues and in 1993, WSNA reaffirms its position supporting comprehensive Health Care Reform.

1991

ANA and WSNA testify and Supreme Court rules to endorse the appropriateness of all-RN bargaining units.

1992

WSNA publishes Guidelines for RNS in Giving, Accepting or Rejecting an Assignment.

1993

WSNA, in conjunction with the Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists and organized medicine, passes legislation authorizing nurse anesthetist practice in it’s current scope.

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.

1993

WSNA condemnes discrimination against gay and lesbian members of the military.

1993

Public Health Nursing celebrates its 100th anniversary.

1994

WSNA supports recognition of violence as a public health problem and the importance of reducing violent behaviors through education and treatment and supports legislation that would make an assault on a health care provider a Class C Felony.

1994

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

1995

ANA/WSNA launches “Every Patient Deserves a Nurse” media campaign.

1996

WSNA secures passage of whistle blower legislation to protect nurses.

1997

WSNA achieves passage of legislation that limits the use of the professional title “nurse” to RN or LPN.

1999

Implementation of Nurse Delegation in Washington State Community Based Residential Care Settings.

1999

WSNA lobbies successfully for specific funding in the state budget to improve nurses’ salaries in long term care.