Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


Montana, Montana Nurses' Association, nursing, nursing school, professional development


Since the American Nurses' Association (ANA) published its first position paper in 1965 and in 1978 reaffirmed its position on the educational preparation for nursing practice at the ANA National Biennium, the Montana Nurses' Association (MNA) has maintained a consistent position that a minimum of the baccalaureate degree in nursing should be required for licensure as a professional nurse. As of the closure of the 1987 session, the MNA had not yet been able to secure legislation for this requirement. The influence of the Montana Nurses' Association on the legislative process regarding the regulatory efforts of the profession from 1912 to 1987 is explored in this study. The activities and progress of the MNA have been focused on the protection of the public through mandatory licensing/registration of trained nurses and the provision of standards for nursing education and practice. The goal of the baccalaureate degree in nursing as the minimum educational preparation for licensure as a professional nurse has been a sought objective since 1965. Historical research methods were used to investigate this problem. The data were collected from both primary and secondary sources and the validity and reliability of the evidence was determined by internal and external criticism. Data were then evaluated to identify those factors operative in society which have impeded or facilitated the objective of the nursing profession to move from its status as an occupation/trade toward a bonafide/acknowledged profession. Synthesis and interpretation of the findings were the final stages of the process in order to make recommendations for action by professional nurses in Montana. The findings of the study indicated that the progress from untrained nurses toward professional preparation in Montana, 1912-1987, occurred in several phases and was influenced by the Montana Nurses' Association in collaboration with other nursing organizations including the Montana Licensed Practical Nurses' Association, the Montana League for Nursing, the Montana Consortium of Schools of Nursing, and the Montana State Board of Nursing. The members and officers of these groups were able to influence the legislature to provide for the Nurse Practice Act of the state and to revise it periodically.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons