Origi­nally from Arizona, Margarita Prentice, RN obtained her nursing educa­tion at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Phoenix. She also attended Phoenix College, Youngstown Univer­sity in Ohio and the Univer­sity of Washington.

During her nursing career, Margarita has served in almost every capacity from staff nurse to director of nursing. Margarita was always active in WSNA. As a staff nurse in the emergency room at Valley General Hospital, Margarita was active in organizing a WSNA local unit there and in negoti­ating the first contract. Margarita served on many WSNA commit­tees and as an ANA delegate for many years. She was elected and served as first vice presi­dent of WSNA from 1968 to 1972. After that office, she joined the staff of WSNA as the labor organizer and officer for WSNA.

In 1988, Margarita was elected to the House of Repre­sen­ta­tives, where she served for 4 years. She was then elected to the State Senate in 1992 and shortly after arriving, was chosen to serve as the Majority Caucus Vice Chair for two years and then two years as Chair of the Finan­cial Insti­tu­tions, Housing and Insur­ance Committee. Senator Prentice currently serves as the Chair of the Labor Commerce and Finan­cial Insti­tu­tions Committee and is a member of the Educa­tion Committee and the Trans­porta­tion Committee.

Margarita holds many commu­nity and profes­sional member­ships including the American Civil Liber­ties Union; Amnesty Inter­na­tional; Democ­ratic National Committee; Sierra Club; Audubon Society; and the Humane Society of United States.

Through her sponsor­ship of various health-related bills, Margarita has used her nursing background to make a positive impact on the health of the citizens of Washington State. She has sponsored bills dealing with women’s health, advanced practice, mental health benefits, newborn infant safety, Asian medicine, acupunc­ture, health insur­ance, contra­cep­tive health services, health care financing, health care benefits for retirees, infant and child products, breast and cervical cancer, commu­nity health center facil­i­ties, prescrip­tion drug pricing, assis­tive mobility devices, children and environ­mental health, family planning services, colorectal cancer detec­tion and recog­ni­tion of National Nurses Week.

Margarita has worked closely with WSNA as well as other specialty nursing associ­a­tions to sponsor bills supporting advanced practice nurses. Most recently, Margarita, along with Repre­sen­ta­tive Eileen Cody in the House, was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 6675 – Manda­tory Overtime: Dangerous Practice for Patients and Nurses. This bill was WSNA’s top priority for this legisla­tive session. It eventu­ally passed the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Locke on March 22, 2002.

Well respected by many organi­za­tions throughout the state, Margarita has been awarded Legis­lator of the Year awards by the Retail Associ­a­tion and Mortgage Brokers Associ­a­tion; Washington Health Care Associ­a­tion; Washington State Labor Council; Home Health Care Associ­a­tion; Washington State Dental Hygien­ists’ Associ­a­tion and, of course, WSNA. The Washington Associ­a­tion of Homes for the Aging awarded Margarita its Distin­guished Service Award. The King County Nurse’s Associ­a­tion gave her their Nurse of the Year Award” and Valley Medical Center named Margarita a Champion of Health Care.”

It is clear that Margarita has made many signif­i­cant, positive impacts in various areas of health care, nursing practice and working condi­tions for nurses. Nurses and the citizens of Washington State truly benefit from Margar­i­ta’s leader­ship and commit­ment to making a difference.