The Illinois State Council began in late 1973 when Barbara Herrick, the Emergency Department Nurses Association (EDNA) Region 5 Representative, appointed June Brown as Illinois State Representative. At that time, Illinois had 490 active members in individual chapters, but many areas of the State had no formal organization. In May 1974, June Brown held an open meeting at the Region 5 Spring Symposium in Chicago to discuss issues confronting members without local chapters. Letters were sent to hospitals throughout the State announcing the formation of a State Chapter.
The first organizational meeting of what was then known as the State of Illinois Chapter of EDNA was held on June 19, 1974, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Joliet. Ten members, representing six hospitals attended this meeting (St. Joseph’s Hospital in Joliet, Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, McHenry Hospital in McHenry, Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, and Community Hospital in LaGrange). The State Charter was ratified by unanimous vote after an appointment of officers by June Brown, Illinois State Representative and President. Other officers included: Marion Dunn, Vice-President and Program Chairman, Vivian Johnson, Secretary, Phyllis Martin, Treasurer, and Peggy Sing, Chairman of Membership, Credentials, and Publicity. Charter Chapters in the State were Chicago NEWS, Fox-Plaines, Greater Northwest, Cook County and South West Area. State Constitution and Bylaws were submitted to National EDNA in October 1975, and the Charter was officially sealed on October 10, 1975. The Illinois State Chapter name was then changed to the Illinois Coordinating Council. Annual dues for Council members were $2.00 in addition to the $25.00 dues assessment for National membership.
By November 1976, active membership in the Illinois Coordinating Council grew to 835. There were eight chartered chapters, and the Council had published its first bi-annual newsletter. In April of that year, the Council co-sponsored its second Annual Scientific Assembly with the Illinois Chapter of the ACEP (American College of Emergency Physicians). Marion Dunn was Council Chairperson, and essentially operated the Council office out of her living room in those early, financially-lean years. In March 1976, the Council’s liquid assets totaled only $135.20.
By 1981 there were 10 Chapters comprising the Illinois State Coordinating Council. The organization’s focus remained on education, however, a new interest — political action — surfaced within the Council. The Government Affairs Committee led members in efforts related to EMS and Highway Safety legislation, as well as other issues affecting emergency nursing.
In early 1988 the Illinois State Council was selected to participate in the National ENA’s Blue Ribbon Commission pilot study which replaced Chapters with Special Interest Groups throughout the State. The reorganization had a positive impact on the work of the Illinois State Council and reflects our current structure.
Of special note, the Illinois State Council is proud to have had two members serve as President of National ENA: June Brown (1976-1977) and Marilyn Rice (1994).