Frances Terry, MN, ARNP of Seattle received her Baccalaureate of Nursing Science from Seattle University and after first raising her five children, she returned for her Master’s of Nursing from the University of Washington School of Nursing. She was the first African American student to graduate from Seattle University’s nursing program and the second to graduate from any nursing school in the state.
When Frances graduated from nursing school, only a couple of hospitals would hire a “colored” nurse. Some patients would not allow her to care for them. Over the years, she has paved the way for many nurses of color to follow her example. During Frances’ basic education, she received inspiration and support from the few African-American registered nurses who came to Seattle from other states. One registered nurse from out of state, Ann Foy Baker, influenced the other African American nurses to form the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization. Frances’ contributions to Mary Mahoney with its scholarships to over 70 students during the past 50 years will provide a lasting influence on nursing care, as will her tutoring for nursing students and participation in Seattle University’s and the University of Washington’s fund raising.
Frances joined the Washington State Nurses Association right after graduation and has been an active member for over 49 years. Since that time, she has Chaired, Co-Chaired or served as a member on various committees for both WSNA and for KCNA. She’s attended conventions at the national, state, and county levels as an elected delegate and served on WSNA’s Cabinet of Nursing Practice and Education and on the Ethics and Human Rights Committee. She represented WSNA at the International Congress of Nurses in Madrid, Spain. She worked many hours during the attempted raid by other unions in 1989, helped draft a definition of nursing, and has supported the PAC and the Foundation.
Frances arrived in Washington State with her parents as a twelve year old child. She graduated from public high school at age 16 and finished her five years of nursing education at age twenty-one. She believes that she has represented hope and achievement for the youth of our state who wish to become nurses. She has opened doors for all nurses through her professional work in the various health care settings: hospitals, community health, public school, non-profit agency, community mental health agencies, and advanced educational institutions. She received her education and advanced her career from staff nurse to Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with prescriptive authority over a span of forty-eight years.
Frances Jefferson Terry’s career as a professional nurse encompasses four decades. During that time she demonstrated her ability to adapt to many different nursing situations and responsibilities. As Director of Health Services at Northwest Center for the Retarded, she modeled excellence in patient care, leadership, education, public service, nurse advocacy, and patient advocacy. Working with these special needs people was one of the most challenging and rewarding positions that Frances held. This care required compassion, devotion, and professional excellence-to keep the environment safe by following established nursing standards and Occupational Safety and Health Agency guidelines, to use therapeutic communication skills, to do health appraisals, to monitor and administer medication so that clients maintained or increased their functional level, to keep accurate records, and to work effectively with parents, teachers, staff, University faculty and students-all while remaining open to constant and significant changes in health care delivery and the cultural and political environment.
Frances demonstrated excellence in leadership at the Northwest Center for the Retarded by establishing health care policy for the Center, by organizing and leading therapeutic groups for females, males, and co-ed clients to help them learn self-help skills, improve self-esteem, and to maintain and improve their health. She helped parents organize a support group and convened an interdisciplinary group for treatment planning. She obtained a grant that established an after-school program for the special needs children whose parents did not get home from work until later in the day.
In her work with the mentally ill population at Harborview Medical Center and a nurse consultant and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with prescriptive authority at Community House Mental Health Agency, Frances continued to demonstrate excellence in her field. In May, 1993, she was recognized as one of three outstanding nurses at Harborview Medical Center during National Nurses Week.
Frances places a high value on education and continues to study and learn. Her trip to China in an exchange nursing program was a special learning opportunity for Frances and will have a lasting effect on the treatment of physical and mental illnesses in that country.