About Us

The Graduate Nurses’ Association (GNA) of the District of Columbia was founded as a result of a meeting of the Garfield Alumnae Association on November 10, 1903, to consider the registration of graduate nurses.  By April 1904, the organization was incorporated and chartered by Congress.  The objectives were advancement of education standards of nursing, registration of graduate nurses in the District and adoption of a code of professional ethics.  One hundred thirty-seven nurses signed the constitution and paid the $1.00 membership fee.

In 1905, the GNA of DC was accepted into membership in the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States (forefunner of the American Nurses Association) and the national convention was held in Washington, DC.

In the 1940’s the Association joined a city-wide interdisciplinary health committee to study issues of mutal concern.  The GNA of DC was one of the first “state” organization to start a professional guidance and placement service with a paid counselor.  Doctor’s Hospital in collaboration with the DC Medical Society, sponsored lectures for nurses.

The name of the Association was changed to the District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA) in 1965.  In 1968, the organization became actively involved with collective bargaining for professional nurses.  Representing nurses at Freedman’s Hospital and the Department of Human Services, the Association successfully negotiated its first contracts in the 1970’s.    

DCNA has been highly visible in the  political and legislative arena.  Addressing the public healthcare crisis was a top priority.  DCNA pushed for healthcare reform on the local level, including the creation of a District-wide healthcare summit to define and coordinate programs.  Legislation was secured extending litigation immunity to nurses who volunteered their services.  DCNA took leadership in the implementation through final regulations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) legislation, which is notably more progressive that that proposed at the Federal level.