Joanna Boatman, RN
Washington State Nurses Association
Joanna Boatman is recognized as a pioneer in the labor arena at the local, state, and national levels and a champion of the staff nurse. She graduated from the Emanuel Hospital School of Nursing in 1951, immediately joined the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), and has been an activist and committed member of WSNA continuously since then.
During her more than 60 years in WSNA and the American Nurses Association (ANA), Boatman served as president and board member of Lower Columbia and King County Nurses Associations and twice served as president for WSNA from 1989-1993 and again from 2003-05. During her tenure, Boatman successfully led the association in its difficult fight back after devastating union raids. In her first term, she visited nearly every district and bargaining unit in Washington State at least twice to let nurses know she was listening and responding to their concerns. Her leadership and commitment to WSNA and ANA enabled other members to fight to save their association in a difficult time.
Boatman was honored with induction into the WSNA Hall of Fame, and received the first WSNA Staff Nurse Leadership award named in her honor. She was the fi rst staff nurse to become WSNA president, to be appointed to the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, and to be elected as chair of the Washington State Board of Nursing.
Boatman’s nursing career was spent primarily in the operating room where for more than 44 years, patients, physicians, and fellow staff nurses all expressed confidence in her abilities. Boatman elevated the image of the nurse in the operating room as president of the Seattle Chapter of the Association of Operating Room Nurses. For her dedication and success in recognizing the work and dignity of the staff nurse, Boatman has made a lasting contribution to the health of her community.