Continued advances in economic security, legislation and standard-setting


Miss Eleanor Dudley, at Harborview-King County Hospital, treats polio patient Mrs. Iris Roberts (1950)

The 1950s witnessed WSNA's continued activities in the areas of economic security, legislation and standard-setting. In addition, the Association moved into the area of “health manpower planning,” becoming one of six professional associations to be charter members of the Washington State Health Council. A long-range study on nursing resources and needs in Washington was completed, with assistance from U.S. Public Health Service and the Washington State League of Nursing Education. And, nurses were back again in the legislature, seeking amendments to the Nurse Practice Act as well as a collective bargaining bill which would provide nurses in non-profit hospitals the right to negotiate with their employers.


The Washington Nursing Study (a nursing supply and demand study) is completed by USPHS examining the nursing resources and needs in Washington state. Specific problems identified are: distribution of RNs to rural areas, needs for improvements in nursing homes and homes for the aged and need for better analysis of nursing practice roles and functions to better utilize nursing skills.


At the request of the Practical Nurses Association of Washington State, a Joint Committee of WSNA and the Washington State League of Nursing Education prepares an outline for extension courses for practical nurses.


Lillian B. Patterson (former UW School of Nursing Dean and supervisor at Pierce County Health Department) is appointed by President Truman as special Nurse Advisor to the World Health Organization.


A special committee on Nursing Service begins research on the Washington Study of Nursing Functions.
Following extensive lobbying and support by ANA and the state nurses associations, landmark legislation establishing new Professional Nursing Traineeship grants are provided under two titles in Public Law 911, “Health Amendments Act of 1956.” The law provided for graduate training of professional public health personnel under Title I; and advanced training of professional nurses to serve in administrative or supervisory capacities under Title II. These were the first federally-funded Nurse Traineeships.


The WSNA Board of Directors approves the “Economic Target for General Duty Nurses.” Contents of this document are discussed in negotiations on a statewide agreement with the Committee on Personnel Policies of the Washington State Hospital Association.


An amendment to the Nurse Practice Act provides registered nurses with the authority to “pierce the tissues to administer prescribed drugs, injections, inoculations, tests or other treatments.”


Reluctance or refusal of employers to meet to negotiate and sign labor relations agreements with the nurses bargaining representatives precipitates the WSNA Board of Directors to direct the Committee on Legislation to draft a bill insuring labor relation rights of employees in health care. This bill was introduced in the Legislature and although not enacted, a House Resolution is adopted directing the State to “study the problem of the adjustment of labor relations in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care activities” and to report their findings to the 1959 Legislature.

The labor legislation proposed by WSNA in 1957 results in agreement by WSHA and WSNA on “Four Principles of Labor Relations” which establishes basic ground rules for Labor Relations discussions between the hospital management and WSNA in its efforts to represent nurses in hospitals.


WSNA Board approves an Operating Manual for the Economic Security Program to serve as a policy guide for WSNA staff in carrying out the program. A written agreement on employment conditions is signed for the first time between the Washington State Nursing Home Association and the WSNA.


Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane becomes the twenty-third hospital to sign a contract with WSNA. The contract covered 265 nurses.