WSNA members and staff stand with Governor Christine Gregoire at the Safe Patient Handling bill signing (2006)

Return to financial stability, growth and vibrant programs #

The begin­ning of the new millen­nium also ushered in a new begin­ning for WSNA with a return to finan­cial stability, steady growth in member­ship and vibrant, enhanced programs focusing on access to quality care, patient and nurse safety, improved working condi­tions, environ­mental health and safety, emergency prepared­ness, public health, nursing practice and contin­uing educa­tion. With sustained member­ship growth, WSNA is now the third largest state nurses associ­a­tion in the nation. The first eight years of this decade have seen extra­or­di­nary successes in legisla­tive and polit­ical action with a national record of eight regis­tered nurse legis­la­tors in key leader­ship positions in Olympia and legisla­tive victo­ries, including manda­tory overtime, safe patient handling, nurse staffing and comple­tion of full prescrip­tive authority for ARNPs. These victo­ries are excel­lent and clear examples of the compre­hen­sive approach taken by WSNA as a multi-purpose organi­za­tion — through legis­la­tion, regula­tion, nursing practice and collec­tive bargaining. WSNA’s intense focus on nursing practice means the protec­tion of the scope and standards of nursing practice and nurse licen­sure while assuring public safety. As another wave of nursing shortage begins to take shape, WSNA is the leader in meeting this challenge through the creation and funding of the Washington Center for Nursing along with devel­oping strate­gies to address the issues surrounding nursing recruit­ment and reten­tion. The nursing shortage along with the increasing complex health care needs of the popula­tion trans­lates to an extremely challenging workplace environ­ment for nurses and concerns for safe patient care. WSNA’s experi­ence and exper­tise in collec­tive bargaining has greatly enhanced nurse and patient safety through workplace protec­tions, increased benefits and more input into patient care decisions.


2000 #

  • WSNA is successful in limiting scope of Nurse Delega­tion to commu­nity based settings, i.e. boarding homes, adult family homes and devel­op­men­tally disabled settings and not in hospi­tals and long-term care facilities.
  • WSNA becomes a founding member of the United American Nurses, creating the largest national union of regis­tered nurses; affil­i­ated with both the ANA and AFL-CIO.
  • The Needle­stick Safety and Preven­tion Act is passed by the Legislature.

2001 #

  • WSNA forms ARNP Coali­tion and success­fully lobbies for the comple­tion of prescrip­tive authority allowing ARNPs to prescribe Sched­ules II-IV medica­tions providing the ARNP has a joint practice agree­ment. This limita­tion was removed legisla­tively two years later.
  • WSNA wins organizing election at South­west Washington Medical Center and begins negoti­ating their first contract.
  • WSNA issues Position Papers on Nursing Shortage and Workforce Issues and on Contin­uing Competency.
  • Erosion of public health nursing and medical errors/​systems safety are added to associ­a­tion priorities.
  • Jan Bussert elected to ANA Board of Direc­tors and later becomes ANA Treasurer.

2002 #

  • WSNA launches a statewide media campaign on Nursing Recruit­ment and Retention.
  • WNLC issues Washington State Strategic Plan for Nursing” and urges creation of a Center for Nursing in Washington State.
  • WSNA wins decer­ti­fi­ca­tion attempt by Teamsters Local 245 at Kittitas Hospital in Ellensburg.
  • WSNA member, Dawn Morrell, is elected to the Washington State Legis­la­ture and is appointed Vice-Chair of the House Health Care Committee.
  • WSNA wins landmark legis­la­tion protecting nurses from manda­tory overtime.

2003 #

  • WSNA and the ARNP coali­tion tackle the Medical Malprac­tice Liability Insur­ance Reform issue.
  • WSNA Board endorses the Precau­tionary Principle”and estab­lishes the WSNA Occupa­tional and Environ­mental Health and Safety Committee to address workplace and environ­mental safety issues.
  • WSNA reaches over a million people with Nursing — A Career for Life” PR campaign.
  • WSNA initi­ates new Public Health Nursing Special Interest Group.

2004 #

  • WSNA and other groups collab­o­rate to estab­lish Washington Center for Nursing to address growing nursing shortage. WSNA secures two seats of the WCN Board.
  • WSNA makes the final payment on the 1989 ANA critical assis­tance loan!
  • With support from WSNA-PAC, eight Regis­tered Nurses (Sen. Rosa Franklin, Sen. Margarita Prentice, Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, Sen.Cheryl Pflug, Rep. Eileen Cody, Rep.Dawn Morrell, Rep.Judy Clibborn, and Rep. Tami Green) now serve in the Washington State Legis­la­ture – the most of any state in the country.

2005 #

  • WSNA is successful in passing bills to enlarge the Nursing Commis­sion and provide funding for the Central Resource Center for Nursing.
  • WSNA issues a Position Paper on Medical Errors and Patient Safety and joins Insti­tute for Health­care Improvement’s 100 K Lives” Campaign.

2006 #

  • The Safe Patient Handling bill became law, providing for no manual lifting of patients.
  • ANA, WSNA and NYSNA jointly file a lawsuit against the U.S. Depart­ment of Health & Human Services for failure to enforce nurse staffing require­ments in hospitals.

2007 #

  • WSNA and other environ­mental groups are successful in securing passage of a first in the nation bill banning Toxic Flame Retardants. 
  • WSNA, in collab­o­ra­tion with other advanced practice nursing groups, achieves final comple­tion of prescrip­tive authority legis­la­tion, making Washington state’s practice act, the most advanced in the country.
  • WSNA in collab­o­ra­tion with other Coali­tions is successful in securing additional funding for public health, mental health parity and increased funding for nursing enroll­ment slots.
  • WSNA ends its affil­i­a­tion with the United American Nurses (UAN).
  • WSNA issues a Position Paper on Regis­tered Nurse Delega­tion in Commu­nity Based Settings.
  • WSNA issues a White Paper on Nursing Educa­tion in Washington state.
  • WSNA holds nine regional workshops on Safe Nurse Staffing.
  • WSNA supports devel­op­ment of the Nursing Students of Washington State (NSWS) organized as a constituent of the National Student Nurses Associ­a­tion (NSNA), the first state student nurses organi­za­tion since 1998.

2008 #

  • WSNA continues to monitor the activ­i­ties of the Nursing Care Quality Assur­ance Commis­sion and provides advice from the profes­sion on such issues as continued compe­tency, multi-state licen­sure, advanced practice issues, scope and standards of practice and protec­tion of the public.
  • Nearly 700 nurses and students attend Nurse Legisla­tive Day.
  • WSNA, in collab­o­ra­tion with the WSHA, NWONE and other nurse unions, lobbies success­fully for passage of the Safe RN Staffing bill.