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TONL History
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On September 27, 1968, the Texas Society for Hospital Nursing Service Administrators was organized and the first Board meeting of the new organization was held on November 12th. By the time of the 1st Board meeting 162 Charter memberships had been processed. The Board of Directors set the Society’s annual meeting date during the Annual Convention of the Texas Hospital Association, with the first annual meeting scheduled for May 20-21, 1969 in Dallas.

Since the start of what is now the Texas Organization for Nursing Leadership almost 50 years ago, there have been many positive changes in the organization now known as TONL.

During the 1970’s there was significant organizational and membership growth. In addition a variety of studies and surveys were initiated on a variety of topics including:
  • A special committee was established to study Trends in Nursing and to function as a sub-committee for the Study of Nursing and Nursing Education.
  • A Survey to Assess Performance of New Graduates from RN Educational Programs was reviewed.
  • The Board reviewed proposed JCAHO standards for Nursing Service and recommended changes. The new standards were approved by JCAHO with TSHNSA's recommendations incorporated.
Also during the 1970’s TSHNSA was the largest of the Texas Hospital Associations’ affiliate societies and membership grew to 273. In 1974, communication with the Council of Deans and Directors of Schools for Nursing for the State of Texas was established and in 1975 the Liaison Committee of the TSHNSA Committee of Education with the Council of Deans and Directors met twice. The basic objectives of this committee were to establish continuing dialogue with nursing educators and nursing service administrators. A member of the Board was appointed to the Board of Nurse Examiners to develop a working paper on proposed standards for nursing practice.

The Society also assisted the Steering Committee for formation of the Oklahoma Society of Nursing Service Administrators at their invitation.

Membership continued to grow into the 1980’s to over 400 industry professionals. Workshops were held and were specifically geared to meet current problems and issues in nursing administration. They included topics such as Patient Classification Systems, Motivation and Retention, Integration and Retention of Professional New Graduates. Testimony was provided at the BNE meeting and members served on committees concerning proposed rules on Delegation of Tasks by RN's to Unlicensed Personnel, the Nurse Advocacy Committee, the Committee on Competencies for the Two Levels of Nursing Practice, and Education Planning meetings with the Councils of Deans and Directors of Nursing Schools in Texas. In the late 1980's, COHN (Committee on Hospital Nursing) Task Force on Education was initiated, as a result of concerns from the TNA developments on competencies of the two levels of nursing.

It was during the 1980’s that the Nursing Administrators set the "tone" for the hospitals major commitment to quality patient care, so the TSHNSA members supported a name change of the Society to Texas Organization of Nurse Executives - TONE.

During the 1990’s TONE continued to have representation on the BNE committees of Advanced Practitioners and Continuing Education Advisory as well as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boards' Committee on Nursing Education. TONE also developed a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nursing Shortage to address policy issues relating to manpower shortages. TONE also worked closely with the Council on Policy Development in developing advocacy initiatives.

As an organization TONE incorporated the Mission Statement into the organization’s strategy and operations and published its first regularly scheduled newsletter. TONE developed position papers on the following topics: BSN vs. Associate Degree Nursing, Continuing Education, and Continuous Quality Improvement.

1994, TONE began a membership restructure that involved building the relationship with TNA, updating TONE’s image, and expanding the membership parameters to be up to date with the expanding nursing leadership roles. TONE recognized the Panhandle Organization of Nurse Executives as a chapter.

As the millennium rolled over to into the 2000’s TONE continued to see improvements in operations including the launch of a website and presentation of an education conference in Houston, hosted in collaboration with HONE that had approximately 390 attendees. During the 2000’s TONE became an affiliate of THA which involved operating as a separate organization rather than as a subsidiary organization. TONE’s collaboration with THA continued and Dr. Caryn Iverson was appointed to the THA Board.

TONE has continued to stay closely involved with the Texas Nursing Legislative Agenda Coalition as well as Texas Team. TONE continued to increase the number of chapters throughout the state and expand services to members including a Career Center, a Scholarship Program and Nurse Leader of the Year Award.

As TONE continued into 2010 and beyond, involvement with other regulatory agencies expanded and the number of TONE Chapters expanded to support the increase in membership around the state. And in 2019, TONE once again updated their name to following the lead of the AONE which changed to AONL, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. TONE became TONL, the Texas Organization for Nursing Leadership. This name change was initiated to represent the changes seen in the profession and to support all members of nursing leadership. The name change was completed in early 2020.

2020 saw a continued rise in TONL membership. Over 950 nurse leaders were members of TONL, represented by thirteen chapters. These chapters represent all areas of Texas and TONL worked to expand membership to include nurse leaders in a variety of practice settings. TONL also partnered with the Texas Board of Nursing to host a groundbreaking event, The Future of Nursing in Texas: Stakeholders Moving Towards Alignment. This invitational summit brought together representatives from all areas of nursing including clinicians, academics, regulatory agencies and others to address the critical issues facing the nursing profession.

As TONL looks forward to the next 50 years, the organization is well positioned to support nurse leaders as they face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. TONL has proven it has the resiliency, dedication and committee to meet those challenges head on. TONL looks forward to those upcoming years and will work to expand membership and educational opportunities to meet the mission and vision of the organization now, and in the future.