Reprinted with permission from 100 Years of Caring: The Ohio Nurses Association

Mary Hamer Greenwood, the Superintendent of Nursing at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, attended the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Specifically, the Congress on Charities, Corrections and Philanthropy provided a section so that Isabel Hampton could chair a meeting of 17 nurses interested in establishing a new organization for nursing superintendents.

The next year, the American Association of Superintendents of Schools of Nursing was chartered and Greenwood was one of the original members. This organization eventually became the National League for Nursing. At the Third Annual meeting of the organization, Isabel Hampton Robb suggested the need for an organization for graduate nurses. Thus, the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada was formed in 1897, and this became the American Nurses Association.

The purposes of the organization included: setting standards for nursing practice and education; obtaining licensure in each state; and meeting the needs of nurses. Most nursing schools already had alumnae associations and it was envisioned that these local groups would be joined into state groups that ultimately would be joined into a national organization to support all nurses.

Miss Greenwood became a catalyst in Cincinnati and gained the support of other graduate nurses in an effort to form a local organization of graduate nurses from all schools in the city. In June, 1897, the Graduate Nurses’ Association of Cincinnati was formed with members of several alumnae associations to work for “mutual improvement, promotion of good fellowship and the furthering of the best interest of the nursing profession in Cincinnati.” This was the first organization of nurses in the state of Ohio. Within one year there were 46 members, and monthly meetings were held for business and educational offerings.

Other organizations soon formed in other regions of the state. By 1903, there was a growing interest for a statewide organization, and the Ohio State Nurses Association was formed in 1904. The Ohio State Nurses Association operated out of a Cincinnati office until 1916.