Joann Boatman, RN of Longview received her diploma in nursing from Emanual Hospital School of Nursing and has been an active and committed member of WSNA since gradu­a­tion. During her more than 48 years in WSNA, Joanna has served as both Presi­dent and a member of the Boards of Direc­tors for Lower Columbia and King County Nurses Associ­a­tions and for WSNA. As a two term WSNA Presi­dent from 1989 to 1993, Joanna led the Associ­a­tion in its fight back after the devas­tating raids by the UFCW and 1199 unions. In her first term, she put many miles on her car as she visited nearly every district in Washington at least twice to let nurses know she was listening to their concerns. This was a scary time for WSNA members as they watched their associ­a­tion in a very diffi­cult time so her presence and willing­ness to listen had a reassuring effect on the membership.

To demon­strate the high regard and trust in which the members held Joanna, the bylaws were changed so that she could run for a second term as Presi­dent even though she had served on the Board of Direc­tors for six years.

The enduring value of Joanna’s achieve­ments lies in her efforts and successes in having the worth and dignity of the staff nurse recog­nized. She contin­u­ally empha­sizes the point of view and concerns of the staff nurse at the front lines whether it’s as a delegate to the ANA conven­tion or as a delegate to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. She was the first staff nurse to become WSNA Presi­dent and the first staff nurse to be appointed to the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assur­ance Commis­sion and the first staff nurse to be elected as Chair of the Commission.

Joanna’s nursing career has been spent in the operating room where for over 44 years patients, doctors, and fellow staff nurses all expressed confi­dence in her abili­ties. One of the physi­cians at Virginia Mason Medical Center, where Joanna worked for over 30 years, related that patients sched­uled for surgery would ask to have her be their nurse.

As picket captain during the long sixty-nine day strike at Virginia Mason in 1976, Joanna headlined the role of the nurses as patient advocates and devoted the last two weeks of the strike convincing admin­is­tra­tion that nurses’ input into patient care issues was essential.

Joanna also elevated the image of nurses in the operating room from that of the doctor’s hand maiden” to a true and equal partner of the surgical team as Presi­dent of the Seattle chapter of Operating Room Nurses.

Joanna has made a lasting contri­bu­tion to the health of her commu­nity. She was born in Kalama, Washington in the same house that her mother was born in and in the same house that she lives in today. Joanna began her first job as an operating room nurse at Cowlitz General Hospital in Longview. After moving to Aberdeen for a year where she commuted back to Longview to fill in for vacations as Dr. Pulliam’s scrub nurse and office nurse, she moved to Seattle to take an operating room position with Virginia Mason Hospital. During World War II, she served as a member of the County Civil Defense team scanning the horizon for enemy planes. Years later she was honored by the Washington State Patrol for her role in assisting citizens during the after­math of the Columbus Day storm.

In the 1950’s, Kalama, like other small towns, had no avail­able health care. And so it was not thought unusual when Joanna became the nurse” in her home town. In addition to her regular job, Joanna spent 25 – 30 hours a week sitting with dying patients, giving immuniza­tions or other prescribed medica­tions, doing wound care, and / or providing respite to parents while comforting ill children. The people in that commu­nity had their own nurse and were as proud of their nurses as she was in caring for and about them.

Being polit­i­cally active has always been a priority for Joanna. She was the first woman mayor of Kalama and served four years on the Kalama City Council as well as being chair for the Cowlitz County Planning Council.

She served two terms as Presi­dent of Washington Women United, has been a member of the Cowlitz County Histor­ical Society Board, a member of the Grange for thirty years, and provided endless hours of commu­nity volun­teer work beauti­fying the roadsides along the freeway and other commu­nity areas.

Joanna has lived in only three areas of the state, but has made an impact on the entire state of Washington through her work with WSNA and on behalf of staff nurses. The commu­nity in which she was born and where she has returned for retire­ment, completing the full cycle, will continue to feel her presence. She has improved the nursing care in and out of the operating room by being a patient advocate. She continued this advocacy in her role as Chair of the Nursing Commission.

Joanna will be remem­bered not only for her endeavors for staff nursing and nursing in general, but for her humor and ability to say it like it really is.” The nurses of the state of Washington are experi­encing better benefits and recog­ni­tion because of her many past efforts and from her capable steward­ship of the Association.