Beverly Smith, WSNA’s Executive Director for 16 years and member of the Hall of Fame, has died

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Beverly Smith on the morning of April 9, 2019. She was 92. Over the course of more than a half-century of involve­ment with WSNA, she served in many roles, including as WSNA’s Execu­tive Director from 1968 to 1983. She was inducted into the WSNA Hall of Fame in 2012.

60s Beverly Smith

During her more than 55 years of service to WSNA, Beverly Smith — although not a nurse — was frequently looked to for leader­ship and as a spokesperson for the nursing profes­sion. Most people who knew her never realized she was not a nurse because she was so passionate and knowl­edge­able about the issues impacting nurses and nursing.

Beverly first began working for WSNA as a consul­tant and parlia­men­tarian from 1956 to 1966, at which time she was hired as Assis­tant Execu­tive Director. In 1968 she was promoted to WSNA Execu­tive Director and she held that position for nearly 16 years until retiring in 1983. Beverly was instru­mental in initi­ating produc­tive joint meetings with key govern­ment officials, the media, and other groups, including the medical associ­a­tion and the hospital association.

It was Beverly who encour­aged WSNA to move forward with an Affir­ma­tive Action Plan, and WSNA was the first ANA constituent to be honored for devel­oping and supporting nurses of color and minority backgrounds.

Beverly believed in the impor­tance of nurses being involved in the legisla­tive and polit­ical process. In 1972, WSNA estab­lished (PUNCH) Polit­i­cally United Nurses for Consumer Health – now known as the WSNA PAC. Again under her leader­ship, WSNA became the first state to form a polit­ical action committee, leading the way for other states and for the American Nurses Associ­a­tion (ANA).

A sought-after speaker, she frequently conducted workshops and spoke to audiences locally and around the country. She served as chair of the ANA Committee to Study the Roles and Functions of the American Nurses Associ­a­tion; devel­oped the first regional support group for state nurses associ­a­tion execu­tives and presi­dents; and was a driving force and one of the archi­tects of the successful movement to change the ANA struc­ture to a modified feder­a­tion. As a consul­tant, she assisted ANA in the devel­op­ment of a State Nurses Associ­a­tion organi­za­tional assess­ment program to help State Nurses Associ­a­tions evaluate and improve their opera­tions and services.

In 1984 she began a second career as a consul­tant and founded Beverly Smith Consulting, but she remained a tireless advocate for nurses and an invalu­able resource. She served as WSNA’s parlia­men­tarian for more than a decade, and for the Nursing Students of Washington State as well, when they launched in 2007.

Bev smith

Beverly was well-known and highly respected in Washington state for her advocacy for civil rights, women’s rights and the labor movement, and she was honored numerous times for her activ­i­ties. She served on the Governor’s Council on Produc­tivity, the Center for Commu­nity Devel­op­ment, the Seattle King County YWCA, the Washington State Council for Children and Youth, and the Board of Direc­tors of the Washington Society of Associ­a­tion Execu­tives. Beverly was a founding member and board member of Sound Savings and Loan — the Women’s Bank during a time when women had trouble getting loans from most commer­cial banks. She served as presi­dent of the Seattle PTA and then on the Seattle School Board during the turbu­lent 60’s both as a member of the Board and as president.

Beverly was an influ­en­tial mentor to many. It was her great joy to watch Washington nurses find their own voices and become leaders. Through her leader­ship and her ability to maximize the poten­tial of those around her, she dramat­i­cally changed the landscape for nurses and nursing in Washington State. She will be greatly missed.