USA nursing history holds multiple highlights as nursing has evolved over the years. Today we share glimpses of how nurses' power has continuously changed their profession for good. Here’s how nurses' strikes and fight for their rights through the years look like:
1. There were no standards for the quality of nursing. So nurses began to form their own associations in early 1898.
First associations: Seattle, Tacoma, Walla Walla and Whatcom County.
2. In 1945 the country registered the highest number of volunteer nurses for active war service!
3. The Nurses Practice Act was formed and the work for providing standards for employment in nursing was continued.
4. Nurses began to recognize their power in bargaining and politics through collective action. ANA published its first position paper on nursing education and new degree nursing programs and roles were born.
5. In 1976 more than 1,500 nurses striked for two months in Washington. The National Labor Relations Act extended collective bargaining rights to RNs (supported by ANA as well)
6. This same year, the State Board of Nursing authorized nurses to prescribe legend drugs.
7. A nursing shortage was experienced due to the industry´s down-sizing and cost reduction. This led to the formation of different state boards and commissions.
Some examples: Nursing Assistant, Nursing Shortage, Nursing Forgivable Loan Program.
8. The industry began to recover from the nursing shortage. Programs that focused on access to quality care, patient and nurse safety began to improve.
Programs in fields such as: Environmental health and safety, emergency preparedness, public health, education.
9. ANA and the Washington and New York Nurses Association filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for failure to enforce nurse staffing requirements in hospitals.
10. Due to the pandemic nurses started to strike demanding for better working conditions. The conversation began to spread seeking for a solution for workplace violence.
11. With over 15,000 attendants, the largest nurses strike took place in Minnesota in September 2022. They walked off their shifts demanding for a wage increase and staffing commitments that look after their interests.