HomeMembersAssemblies and SectionsAssembliesNursingHistory ▶ 1990-1996: Section on Nursing Becomes An Assembly In ATS
1990-1996: Section on Nursing Becomes An Assembly In ATS


Membership in the Section continued to grow from 150 to 210 members in 1995.  ATS reorganized in 1991, making all Sections, Assemblies.  Each Assembly formed a Long Range Planning Committee, comprised of past Chairpersons to outline the future goals of the Assembly.  Three Standing Committees now existed, Program Planning, Nominating and Long Range Planning.  The Chair of the Assembly no longer served the dual role of Chairing the Assembly’s Program Committee as well as the Assembly.


Official ATS Statements were developed by the Section/Assembly-Research Priorities in Respiratory Nursing (American Review  Respiratory Disease 1990; 142:1459-1464) and Standards of Nursing Care for Adult Patients with Pulmonary Dysfunction (American Review  Respiratory Disease 1991; 144:231-236).  Pediatric nurse members also contributed to the Statement on Home Mechanical Ventilation of Pediatric Patients (American Review  Respiratory Disease 1990; 141:258-259).

Assembly on Nursing was approved for membership in American Nurses Association, Nursing Organization Liaison Forum (NOLF) in 1993.  The Assembly also began exploring common interests with other related organizations (European Respiratory Society and Respiratory Nursing Society).

The Dyspnea Special Interest Group spearheaded a movement to develop a unifying description of dyspnea and its treatment beginning in 1993.  By 1995, the group had expanded to become a multidisciplinary workgroup, with the goal of developing a Position Paper by 1996.

Assembly on Nursing co-sponsored an educational session at the 1993 National Teaching Institute of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

The charge of the Section was modified in 1991 as follows:  The Section is concerned with clinical, laboratory studies of respiratory problems requiring a comprehensive biopsychosocial approach and other patient problems managed by nurses.  An interdisciplinary patient approach is encouraged and facilitated by communication and collaboration across disciplines.

Objectives for the Assembly identified by the Long Range Planning Committee were similar to those of 1986 but addressing current issues.

  1. Establish a mechanism for providing certification for pulmonary clinical nurse specialists
  2. Form alliances with other nursing organizations and represent pulmonary nursing in the federation of nursing specialties
  3. Support the ongoing development of the special interest groups
  4. Increase yearly the number of ATS grants that support nursing research
  5. Increase the participation of Section members in ATS committee activities
  6. Develop recommendations regarding pulmonary content in undergraduate and graduate curricula
  7. Develop strategies to actively recruit and orient new eligible members

Five Year Objectives were developed in 1993 to include: 

  1. Double Assembly membership while maintaining its diversity
  2. Develop a pulmonary core curriculum for undergraduate and graduate nursing education
  3. Contribute to the present and future directions of ATS
  4. Increase the quantity of pulmonary-focused research
  5. Increase member participation of members in Assembly activities
  6. Increase national visibility of ATS Assembly on Nursing

Program Activities:

The number of abstracts submitted, grew to a high of 99 in 1995.  A greater emphasis was placed on offering Poster Sessions at the Annual Meeting.  One to two Abstract Sessions were held annually.  Abstract topics were on psychosocial topics, functional status & quality of life issues, dyspnea, biobehavioral aspects of the critically ill, and smoking cessation.  Two to three Poster Sessions were offered on topics similar to those offered in at the Abstract Sessions.  Several Symposia Sessions were held highlighting current concepts (both acute & chronic) on pulmonary health care.  Many of the Symposia were co-sponsored with other Assemblies.  The Symposia became a vehicle for bringing state-of-the-art content to attendees.  In the early 1990’s, the National Study Group on Endotracheal Suctioning reported on their findings, problems with multi drug resistant tuberculosis was reported, and women’s health issues became a reoccurring theme.

Sunrise Sessions continued to be offered but became less prevalent.  Topics on tuberculosis were often presented.  Scientific Forums were a vehicle for discussion of specific topics (e.g. respiratory nursing curricula) and special interest groups.  By 1993, other opportunities were provided (such as luncheons) for Assembly members to meet and discuss selected topics of interest.  The Assembly became more involved in co-sponsoring Clinical Topics in Pulmonary Medicine with other Assemblies.  Topics were frequently on the current issues of concern, the resurgence of tuberculosis (1990-1993) and managed care (1995).

Meet the Professor Sessions continued to provide current concepts in treatment strategies for various respiratory problems.  Topics included desensitization in the treatment of dyspnea, asthma management, transtracheal oxygen, lung transplantation, non-compliance in tuberculosis, and smoking cessation approaches in minorities.  Post Graduate Courses were held most years on rehabilitation-related issues (functional status, dyspnea and measurement of patient outcomes).  Joint sessions were held with ALA on timely issues such as Traveling with Oxygen in 1991 and Health Care Reform in 1994.  In 1995 Clinical Workshops were introduced and the Assembly offered a successful session on Power Analysis.

Marilyn Hansen Research Award

A research award was established in 1996 in honor of Marilyn Hansen, a longtime supporter of nursing in ATS.  The award is presented annually to a nurse in recognition of the abstract which best reflects excellence in nursing research.  Candidates are selected from abstracts submitted at the annual meeting.  The first Award was presented to Ann Knebel DNSc, RN for her work on the effects of oxygen administration in nonhypoxemic patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.


ALA has responded to the educational needs of nurses resulting in communication of the latest concepts of pulmonary care, and the creative study of research questions.  Nurses in ATS have been recognized by professional nursing organizations as major contributors to the health of pulmonary patients and the body of knowledge concerning the care of pulmonary patients.

ATS has supported nursing involvement in the clinical, and research aspects of pulmonary care.  As a result, the nursing membership has responded by contributing in meaningful ways to the needs of the organization.  Nurses are an integral part of ATS, serving on virtually every committee in the organization.  This symbiotic relationship has, and continues to enhance the overall mission of both the organization and profession of nursing.