Judy Huntington Med Res

Judy Huntington, MN, RN

In her five decades as a nurse, Judy Huntington has worked as a staff nurse, nurse manager, policy advocate, educator and union leader. She has shaped national and state health policy, led effec­tive coali­tions and built the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion into a vibrant, powerful voice for nurses. On so many levels, Huntington has had a lasting impact on the profes­sion of nursing and the work lives of nurses.

Huntington served as Execu­tive Director of the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion for nearly 19 years. During that time, she built the organization’s finances, more than doubled member­ship and presided over remark­able policy and contract gains for nurses in Washington state. During her tenure, WSNA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of nurses and patients were remark­ably successful, with numerous new laws and rules enacted to protect nurses and ensure patient safety. WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for regis­tered nurse in Washington state thanks largely to Huntington’s leadership.

But Huntington’s influ­ence on the nursing profes­sion and health care policy started long before her time as WSNA’s Execu­tive Director and goes far beyond Washington state. From local unit leader­ship at Seattle Children’s Hospital to leading health reform efforts at the American Nurses Associ­a­tion in Washington, D.C., Huntington has been a fierce advocate for nurses and patients throughout her career.

Even before her gradu­a­tion from the Univer­sity of Washington School of Nursing in 1968, Huntington threw herself into union work. When she was working as a student nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital the summer after her junior year, she signed on to the mass resig­na­tion in 1967, joining the staff nurses in their fight for a fair contract.

Huntington went on to work at Seattle Children’s for 13 years, as a staff nurse, head nurse and supervisor.

In 1971, Huntington served as chair of the Seattle Area Hospital Council nurses negoti­ating team. By that time, nurses were legally allowed to strike, and after a packed meeting where Huntington urged them to do so, nurses voted to go out on strike. The Seattle Area Hospi­tals settled less than three hours before the strike was set to begin.

Huntington served in a variety of leader­ship roles at the local, state and national levels of WSNA, the ANA and the National Feder­a­tion of Nurses, including Presi­dent of WSNA from 1979 to 1983. She is also a founding member of the Washington State Nurses Founda­tion and the WSNA Polit­ical Action Committee, serving as Chair from 1974 to 1976.

For more than a year, from May 1983 through August 1984, Huntington was called upon to serve as WSNA’s Interim Execu­tive Director. It was a fairly short interim, but it was long enough for Huntington to file WSNA’s first lawsuit after she learned that Seattle Area Hospi­tals had agreed to limit wage increases in all of their contracts.

Huntington earned her Master of Nursing degree from the Univer­sity of Washington in 1985. While in graduate school, she worked part-time at St Cabrini Hospital, where she later worked for three years as director of hospital strategic planning.

Throughout her career, Huntington has been active in public policy and polit­ical action. In 1983, she was among the founding members of the Washington State Committee for Afford­able Health Care, a coali­tion of leaders in health care, business and public policy respon­sible for crafting and success­fully lobbying for passage of the Washington State Basic Health Plan.

In 1989, Huntington moved to Washington, D.C., to become Director of the ANA Division of Govern­mental Affairs, where she directed the ANA lobbying and polit­ical action agenda. She spear­headed the creation of Nursing’s Agenda for Health Care Reform, a seminal effort that became the nursing profession’s official platform during the 1992 – 1994 national debate on health care reform and put nurses on the health reform map. She also repre­sented ANA on the National Leader­ship Coali­tion for Health Care Reform from 1990 to 1994

Huntington went on to direct the ANA Depart­ment of Field Services and the Center for Labor Relations and Workplace Advocacy and to direct the Office of Strategic Planning, where she was respon­sible for overall associ­a­tion strategic planning, program devel­op­ment and for devel­op­ment of the award-winning ANA Website, Nursing​World​.org.

In 1999, Huntington returned to Washington state as Execu­tive Director of WSNA. She also served as Execu­tive Director of the Washington State Nurses Founda­tion, Vice-Presi­dent of the Washington Center for Nursing, member of the Execu­tive Board of Direc­tors of the Washington Health Founda­tion and a Vice Presi­dent on the Execu­tive Board of the Washington State Labor Council.

Huntington also was a leader in bringing together nurse educa­tors, nurse execu­tives and nursing unions to form the Washington Center for Nursing, which is charged with devel­oping a compre­hen­sive solution to address nursing workforce issues, including the nurse shortage and diver­sity in the profession.

Over the years Huntington has served as adjunct faculty at several univer­si­ties. In December of 1998, Judy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Kent State Univer­sity for her work in health policy and advancing distance learning through electronic commu­ni­ca­tions and devel­op­ment of the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN), an inter­na­tional, peer-reviewed nursing journal jointly sponsored by Kent State Univer­sity and the ANA.

Huntington’s numerous awards and honors include Univer­sity of Washington School of Nursing Distin­guished Alumni award in 2008, the Mary Mahoney Profes­sional Nurses Organi­za­tion Anne Foy Baker Award in 2015, the ANA Distin­guished Member­ship Award in 2016 and the King County Nurses Associ­a­tion Shining Star Award in 2017.

Huntington’s impact on WSNA, on ANA and on the nursing profes­sion has been incred­ible and indelible.