The history of the Louisiana State Nurses' Association(LSNA) and District IV is embedded with the belief that registered nurses must have an organization that seeks to protect nursing practice and preserve the integrity of the profession. On March 16, 2004, the LSNA celebrated its Centennial. On that day 100 years ago, Miss Ella Comford presided over a small dedicated group who met to create a state organization "with the ultimate object of state legislation." By the end of March, bylaws were adopted and officers elected with Miss Frances M. Quaife as the first President of LSNA.
On May 11, 1904, a charter was developed and recorded with 62 members. Goals included: "advancement of the educational and scientific furtherance of the efficient care of the sick; maintenance of the honor and character of the nursing profession; and furtherance of cordial relations between the LSNA and the nurses of other states and countries." Dues were established at $1.00 with a $2.00 initiation fee.
The members worked diligently to craft legislation providing for a State Board of Examiners of Graduate Nurses. The plan was that 5 members, all graduate nurses, were to be selected from 12 names submitted to the Governor. A group went to Baton Rouge to work for the bill which was noted by the Legislature to be "defective" -- women were not "qualified electors", and therefore could not serve on a State Board. The bill as proposed was deemed unconstitutional. New legislation was drafted and on July 10, 1912, the Governor signed the bill creating a Registration Board with 5 MD members. In 1914, a nurses directory was established which listed 801 registered nurses in Louisiana.
Suffrage was granted to women in Louisiana in 1921, and in 1922 LSNA presented legislation that amended the eligible Board of Nursing members to include "graduate nurses of not less than 5 years experience in nursing." In 1923, with the expiration of an MD term, Miss Julia C. Tebo was the first nurse appointed to the Board. In 1926 legislation provided for mandatory registration for nurses, specified high school education, and provided for 3 RNs and 2 MDs for the Board. The Louisiana State Board of Nursing now includes 9 registered nurses and two non-voting MD Ex-Officio members.
Today there are 13 district nursing associations in the state representing over 40,700 registered nurses. LSNA and District IV continues to work for the improvement of health care services for all people, foster high standards of nursing, and stimulate and promote the professional development of nurses.
District 4 of the Louisiana State Nurses Association encompasses the parishes of Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermilion, Acadia, Evangeline, and Iberia.
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