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Massachusetts Nurses Association Honors Memory of Former MNA President, Executive Director Anne Hargreaves, RN

The Massachusetts Nurses Association remembers Anne G. Hargreaves, a registered nurse, World War II veteran, former president and executive director of the MNA, and a fierce advocate for the protection of nurses’ role in direct care upon her passing at age 95 on August 27, 2019.

Hargreaves served as the elected president of the MNA from 1969 to 1973. She was executive director of the association from 1985 to 1989.

Hargreaves led a long and acclaimed life as a nurse. Her passion for nursing was unmistakable, from her service on the front lines of World War II to her international work in health and human services and her advocacy for nurses in Massachusetts. She received recognition from elected leaders such as former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn and former Gov. Michael Dukakis, along with numerous awards, including the first Frances Slanger Award, which honors alumna who have advanced the practice of nursing during their career.

As an MNA leader, Hargreaves mounted a fight to prevent an ill-conceived plan pursued at the time by physicians to substitute RNs with unlicensed care givers, moving nurses away from direct care of their patients. Similar ideas were later implemented with support of some nursing organizations, resulting in poor patient outcomes and a loss of nurses entering the profession. While the model was scrapped at that time, the effects of that lost decade of nurses is still felt today. 

Hargreaves graduated from Boston City Hospital, Class of 1944. She received degrees from Boston University and became a full Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry. Her papers are archived at BU’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. Hargreaves was honored in 2014 by the Boston City Hospital Nurses Alumnae for her lifetime of achievement in the field of nursing. She also served on the board of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans.

More on Hargreaves’ life and service information can be seen in her obituary, published in the Boston Globe: