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The legacy of the South Carolina Nurses Association is rich with the many accomplishments of women who saw the need to organize in the early twentieth century. These foremothers had a vision of nurses united across the state and this vision has persisted and grown over the years. The heritage of this association is filled with women who were leaders and risk takers beyond their place in history. Men later became members and added their perspective to building and expanding the work that had begun in 1907 by twenty-one charter members.



Miss Jean Kay, SCNA President 1907

The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century saw the development of alumnae associations in the schools of nursing in South Carolina and across the country. Nursing was developing a professional consciousness as the numbers of graduate nurses increased nationwide. In 1897 the National Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada was formed as an organization vital to the protection and growth of nursing. Upon incorporation in 1901, the Canadian affiliation was discontinued. The first president was Isabel Hampton, then Mrs. Hunter Robby. In 1909, the name of the organization was changed to the American Nurses Association.

In South Carolina, a group of nurses (21) held an organization meeting in Columbia in October 1907. These first members wanted a system of registration for nurses in the state. Under the leadership of Miss Jean Kay, a Registration Bill was drafted in 1909 which failed. In 1910 the Registration Bill was introduced again in the South Carolina General Assembly and the Nurse Practice Act passed and became state law. It placed the responsibility for the examination and registration of nurses under the State Board of Medical Examiners. Nursing requested two or three nurses to represent them on the Medical Board but this request was unsuccessful.




Miss Julia Irby, SCNA President 1916

Members to the state association were elected at that time and between 1908 and 1919, there were 266 new members. Nurses increased in numbers as did schools of nursing. At that time there were five schools of nursing in the state. Nursing textbooks began to be published and standards of practice were developed.




Miss Mary Gulledge, SCNA President 1927

Beginning in 1929, Annual Meetings of the association were held around the state and often in various schools and churches. A few of the topics discussed were: "The Need for More Effective Legislation in South Carolina; Private Duty; Public Health; the 20th Century Nurse; and Focus on Children."

1932- The name of the association became the South Carolina Graduate Nurses Association (SCGNA).

1935- The Nurse Practice Act was revised to create a separate Board of Nursing. At that time the SCGNA and the Board of Nursing were housed together in the Carolina Life Building on the corner of Main and Gervais Street in Columbia. A part time Executive Secretary was employed in 1935. In 1937 there were 887 members. The total number of nurses in the state was 2,517.





Miss Grace Steele, SCNA President 1937

1939- The SCGNA hosted the Southern Division of ANA in Charleston, SC.


1941- The first association newsletter "Palmetto Leaves" was published and continued until 1949. Weddings, births and deaths of nurses were included in every issue. In one of the early newsletters was this quotation from the Wit and Wisdom column: - "The height of illegibility - a doctor's prescription written with a post office pen in the rumble seat of a second hand car."

1941- SCGNA was organized into 7 nursing districts.

1942- The SCGNA and the SC League of Nursing Education began having annual meetings together with the SC State Organization for Public Health.

1942- In July the Red Cross issued the following call to all nurses in the state: "Now is the time for all good nurses to come to the aid of their country." Nurses volunteered in record numbers. This call became urgent when the State Nursing Council for War Service also issued the same request. Again nurses responded.

After World War II nurses took advantage of the GI Bill of Rights and returned to school and study.

1944- The total members of the association was 1,475. In that year the Charter was amended and the name was changed to the South Carolina Nurses Association.

1945- At the 38th Annual Meeting the Executive Secretary and office secretary were granted a slight increase in salary. It was reported "that a microscope may be needed to detect the increase."

During this decade SCNA worked to improve laws regulating nursing in the state.

1946- The Richland County Medical Association and the SCNA met together to discuss important matters such as the 8 hour duty and an increase in fees; but the Medical Association did not feel it wise to change at that time.

1947- Four organizations met together in Charleston - SCNA, the SC State League of Nursing Education, the SC State Organization of Public Health nurses, and the SC State Industrial Nurses Association. Nine delegates were sent to the International Council of Nurses in Atlantic City that year.



Miss Isadora R. Poe, SCNA President 1947

1949- SCNA employed a full time Executive Secretary, Miss Carol Clements, and secretary with a membership of 1,790.

1950- The SC State Student Nurses Association began meeting annually with the other state nursing organizations.





Miss Martha M. Bradley, SCNA President 1957

1957- The 50th Anniversary Celebration was held in Columbia. Registration was $1.50 for members and $.50 for students. Topics discussed were: "How to Study Nursing Activities in a Patient Unit; Recent Advancements in Surgical Nursing; Looking Ahead in Nursing; and Where Shall We Go from Here?"

Three new nursing districts were accepted into the association:
#8 Laurens, Newberry & Saluda (23 members)
#9 Chesterfield & Marlboro (29 members)
#10 Chester, Lancaster & York (58 members)

1967- SCNA members voted to acquire a permanent headquarters building and in December, property was purchased on Gadsden Street, Columbia, SC. for $20,375.





Mrs. Neta A. Campbell, SCNA President 1967

1968 SCNA moves into the current building at 1821 Gadsden Street. The Building loan for the building at 1821 Gadsden Street was a total of $54,800 with monthly payments of $428.00.

1968- In this year SCNA finally secured mandatory licensure for nurses through their lobbying efforts.

Mozelle Addy Reeves was the 1st nurse registered by the South Carolina Board of Nursing under the new law.


1968- The Council on Practice developed many position statements. A few examples are: Cardiopulmonary Crisis, Intravenous Therapy, Patient Sitters, and Nursing Practice Requiring Special Clinical Competency. Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists were defined by this council.


1971- SCNA requested that the State Organization for Public Health and the State Commission on Higher Education meet to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Statewide Master Planning Commission for Nursing Education. SCNA was represented with 10 members on that commission.

In the mid-70's Continuing Education was a large part of SCNA's work as a process was developed for maintaining the records of individual nurses.


1973- SCNA supported the ERA Amendment.


1974- The SCNA's HOD affirmed that nurses have the right to refuse to assist in the performance of abortions in keeping with their moral, ethical and religious beliefs except in an emergency when the patient's life is in danger.


1975- SCNA spearheaded the passage of the revised Nurse Practice Act, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Frederick and Senator Richard Riley. In this act, the role of the registered nurse was expanded and extended.


1975- A survey of nurses at the SCNA Convention in November revealed that 50% of all nurses were diploma prepared, 7.7% associate degree prepared, 18.7% baccalaureate prepared and 15.9% masters prepared.


1976- ANA's Hall of fame was unveiled for the first time.





Miss Julia Fisher, SCNA President 1977

1977- In January SCNA approved a request from the South Carolina Nurses Foundation for seed money of $300.00. The purpose of the SCNF was to promote high standards of patient care through the professional educational advancement of nurses in South Carolina.


1979- Lynn Zeidman became the Executive Director in July.

1980-The first Legislative Day was held, the speakers were Senator Heyward MacDonald and Judith Curfman Thompson the President of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.


1980-In June the joint Medical Association the SCNA Committee was reinstated to discuss practice related issues.


1981- The SCNA HOD nurses passed a resolution stating that women have a right to determine whether they want to continue their pregnancy.

1982 - The 75th Anniversary Celebration was held in Columbia. The theme was "Is Florence Could See Us Now." Registration was $30 for members and $20.50 for students. Cook Books were offered for sale and Disaster Nursing was the main topic.  SCNA met with multiple groups to study the current nursing shortage.

1983 SCNA Continuing Education Approver Committee achieved American Nurses Credentialing Center accreditation/ approval for approving continuing education activities in South Carolina. SCNA has been approved continuously since this date.


1983- Judy Fickling (Whiting) joined SCNA as Executive Director.


1983- Following the January 4, 1983 opinion of Attorney General Daniel McLeod which voided the use of protocols and standing orders by nurses in all settings, as well as by nurse practitioners, SCNA joined with others to vigorously petition the new Attorney General Travis Medlock to over turn the former opinion.


1984- This year there was more of an emphasis on the political arena and a desire to change the image of the nurse in the community and among legislators.


1984-In November, the SCNA House of Delegates moved to support legislation designed to limit smoking in public places to only designated areas for the protection of the rights of non-smokers. Other goals focused on workplace hazards, back injuries, falls, hazards, defective equipment, needle sticks, infectious diseases and stress.

SCNA presented a two day workshop called "Nursing in a Disaster in Columbia."
For the second consecutive year at the ANA Convention, SCNA won the American Journal of Nursing’s state association publication competition.


1985 - Judith Curfman Thompson joined the association as the Executive Director.


1986- SCNA and the Georgia Nurses Association held a joint convention at Hilton Head, SC.





Dr. Peggy E. Greaves, SCNA President 1987

1987- A Legislative Workshop was held in the Carolina Coliseum. Melodie Chenevert was the featured speaker and the topic was "Nursing Cheerleader - T-H-R-I-V-E"


1988- Saw Sara Barger receive ANA's Honorary Nursing Practice Award. She was the Dean of Professional Services at the College of Nursing in Clemson.

1989- Money was collected to aid victims of Hurricane Hugo from nurses all over the United States who graciously sent many contributions to SCNA. Many nurses volunteered to work in disaster areas and many nursing text books and other books were gathered. SCNA sent several boxes of these books to the Virgin Islands Nurses Association. After meeting the needs of many South Carolina nursing students, SCNA donated the remainder of Hugo Fund to Virgin Islands Nurses Association during a point of personal privilege during the ANA House of Delegates. A beautiful signed posted from the Virgin Islands was donated in thanks and hangs in the SCNA building.

1989 – In March, SCNA co-sponsored with the USC College of Nursing a bronze statue replica honoring Vietnam Nurse Veterans. Funds were collected across the country to fund this monument which has been erected in Washington, DC, close to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

1990 - A Task Force was formed to help nurse practitioners gain Prescriptive Authority. Prescriptive Authority was granted June 4, 1992.


1992 Barbara Carroll received ANA's Honorary Nursing Practice Award. Barbara was a nurse practitioner.

1993 – The Legislative Day participants attended a meeting of the Joint Health Care Planning and Oversight Committee, causing several State House Lobbyists to ask ED Thompson, "What was going on? The place was crawling with nurses.”


1994- A new Mission Statement for the organization was presented The SCNA House of Delegates.

The Legislative Committee members went to the ANA Public Policy Conference and met with the States Congressional Delegation.

1995 SCNA joined Commun-I-Care the Palmetto Projects statewide volunteer health care access program.


1995- The South Carolina Nurse welcomed the addition on news from the South Carolina Board of Nursing for each edition.


1996- Carrie Houser James immediate past president of SCNA was elected chair of the ANA Constituent Forum, now the Constituent Assembly (CA.)


1996- The President of the United States, Bill Clinton, whose mother was a nurse anesthetist, addressed the ANA Centennial Convention. Peggy Delaney won our delegation’s drawing to be the South Carolina representative on the front row of the auditorium and thus was able to shake hands with the President. Stephanie Burgess SCNA President met with Vice President Gore during this same time. Carrie Houser James, as chair of the CA, and son Max where also front and center to meet the President and to meet with the Vice President.

SCNA participated in and helped fund the South Carolina Colleagues in Caring Project for all the years of its work.


1995-1997 was part of a time of great activity in the healthcare field. Among the issues being dealt with by nurses were mergers and acquisitions of hospital systems across the state, proposed planning for managed care was beginning and nurses found themselves in a time of cut backs and even layoffs of their services in hospitals.



1997 – 2007


Dr. Latrell Fowler, SCNA President 1997

1997- The 90th Anniversary Convention was held in conjunction with the SNA-SC. The theme for that celebration was "SCNA/SNASC: Ahead Of Our Time-Then, Now, and Tomorrow”.


1999- After being elected as Vice President, W. Edward Richburg completed the Presidential term of Latrell Fowler who had to resign. Thus Mr. Richburg became the first man to serve SCNA as President. He went on to be elected to a second term.


2000 - The Palmetto Gold Recognition and Scholarship Program were established by the SC Nurses Foundation and the proceeds support a nursing scholarship in each school of nursing in the state.


2001- After a prolonged hearing in the Administrative Law Court, new regulations that permitted APRNs to add sample medications to those that they could prescribe were passed.


2002- Decision was made by the Board of Directors to renovate the SCNA Building, SCNA's largest asset, due to major structural problems on the second floor.


2003- Renovation of the building began October 24, and the office re-located to Lynn Bailey’s office an antique cottage on Richland Street. All functions of SCNA continued unabated.


2007- In February the SCNA office returned to the Gadsden Street Building.

2004 The Foundation established "Nurses Care" license plates and the monies raised are used for nursing scholarship.

2004. Nurses were rated the most honest and ethical profession. In an effort to increase the visibility of SCNA, Board members answered telephones on SCETV.


2005 saw the revision of SCNA's Bylaws to create a Chapter Program. Chapters could be either geographic or practice based.


2005 Judith Thompson was appointed to American Nurses Credentialing Center Board of Directors as a public member.

2006 - SCNA participated in the Nursing Summit in an effort to address the nurse faculty shortage and the need to increase the nursing workforce in numbers and educational preparation. SCNA worked with the State Board of Nursing to secure revisions to the Nurse Practice Act.

2006 - SCNA was recognized by ANA with a 100th anniversary plaque.

2006- In August SCNA participated in a Nursing Summit held at the SC Hospital Association to discuss the nurse faculty shortage and the need to increase the nursing workforce in numbers and educational preparation. SCNA worked with the State Board of Nursing to secure revisions to the Nurse Practice Act.  At ANA's HOD the new ANA flag was unveiled and SCNA was recognized with a 100th anniversary plaque.


2006- Full implementation of the new chapter system was done.


2006- SCNA hired an additional lobbying firm, The Capital Information Affiliates, to supplement the work of the Legislative Committee and the Executive Director.


2006- SCNA participated in One Voice One Plan Coalition in August to work for legislative funding to meet nursing shortage needs.


2006 Outgoing President Alice Wyatt was elected Chair of the ANA Constituent Assembly and Carrie Houser James became President of the Center for American Nurses.


2006 saw the appointment of President Gwen Davis to the Center for American Nurses Grant Committee.

2007 Past President Peggy Dulaney co-chaired the national work group that revised the ANA Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice. This work was done in collaboration of the ANA, The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), and the International in Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses (ISPN).


2007- Pat Hickey, member of SCNA, successfully completed his quest to become the first nurse to climb the seven highest peaks on seven continents in May.


2007 saw the passage on One Voice One Plan, renamed the Critical Needs Nursing Initiative, by the General Assembly with the first funding of one million dollars for nursing faculty salaries.


2007- Chapters were very active as attendance at workshops grew and also at The Center for American Nurses Lead Summit and ANA's Quadrennial meeting in Atlanta.


2007-Judith Thompson appointed for second term on ANCC Board of Directors.


2007 also saw the first installment of the "I AM A NURSE” walkway with bricks purchased in honor or memory of individuals. More space remains and we look forward to filling it in.


September 13, 2007 marks the beginning of the two day celebration of SCNA’s 100th Celebration and State Convention "Past, Present, and Future”. Featured National Speakers were: ANA’s President Rebecca Patton; CAN’s President Carrie Houser James; Motivational Speaker Nancy Coey; Founder of PRONurse Melodie Chenevert; Barbara Sattler the Director of the Environmental Health Education Center at The University of Maryland School of Nursing. Several workshops where sponsored by SCNA Chapter and Commissions: "What’s All The Talk about Magnet Status?”; "Suicide Risk Assessment”; "Who? Me? But I’m Not Ready! Nurses Volunteering in Disasters”; "Profiling and Sexual Assault”; and "Toxic Topics and Workplace Worries: Why Environmental Health Nursing’s Time Has Come”.



2007- The Next Century of SCNA...The Future


Mrs. Gwen A. Davis, SCNA President 2007


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