Recognizing the need to establish better communications between the existing local associations in Pennsylvania, a group of nurses met during the President’s Meeting in New York on September 22, 1962, for the purpose of discussing the formation of a Pennsylvania State Association of Industrial Nurses.
Dorothy Saller served as temporary chairman of this meeting. The members present decided that every effort should be made to unite and share both resources and experiences. They were further convinced that a state association would establish the identity of the Industrial Nurse on a local, state, and national level and provide a common ground for the exchange of information within the group and other allied health groups.
Accordingly, on Saturday morning, October 27, 1962, 12 nurses met for the purpose of organizing a state association for Industrial Nurses.
The representatives were:
Ruth Slunker, Elizabeth Snyder, and Mary Tice
Marilyn Ahern, Arlene Long, Betty Weagly
Helen Dubbs, Anne Murphy, Grace Ryan, Dorothy Saller, and Maude Wandell
Dorothy Saller served as temporary chairman. Following an informal discussion “Advantages and Necessity for Forming a State Association” a motion was carried to organize the Pennsylvania State Association of Industrial Nurses and the purpose and by-laws were presented and adopted. The first meeting was held that afternoon and Dorothy Saller was elected and installed as President. Annual dues were collected at $2.00 per person.
The first annual meeting and education conference was held at the Penn Harris Hotel, Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, May 4, 1963. Topics included Noise in Industry; Physiological and Psychological Effects of Noise on Man; Conservation of Hearing in Noise; and Pending Legislation on Occupational Hearing Loss.
Other historical timelines:
• Southwestern Pennsylvania joined in 1963.
• Northwestern Pennsylvania joined in 1964.
• Mason-Dixon Association dissolved in 1967.
• Chesmont Pennsylvania joined in September 1984.
• Pennsylvania Association of Industrial Nurses was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a non-profit corporation on August 9, 1973.
• On January 1, 1977, the American Association of Industrial Nurses officially became the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.
Historians and academicians alike credit Pennsylvania with the distinction of being the birthplace of occupational health nursing in 1888. At this time, the first ‘industrial’ nurse, Betty Mouldar, was employed by a Pennsylvania coal-mining firm to care for coal miners who were ill.
From this early beginning in 1888, occupational health nursing has evolved into its present comprehensive multi-disciplined profession. We’ve taken giant strides forward to becomes recognized as a specialty group whose focus is the health and safety of the American worker.
Today, the Pennsylvania Association of Occupational Health Nurses has five (5) local chapters: Berks County, Central, Southwestern, Philadelphia, and Susquehanna Valley. Two (2) chapters, Delaware Valley and Northwest, have both dissolved in recent years.