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Claire Houseman Papers

Identifier: 2022-025

Scope and Contents

The Clare Houseman Papers concern a critical aspect of nursing history: the formal legitimization of private practice nursing. The specific story documented here centers on the authorization of clinical nurse specialists in Virginia to provide psychiatric mental health services. Their successful campaign shepherding legislation through the General Assembly, contesting the policies and procedures of the insurance industry, engaging other health professionals, and establishing regulatory regimes illustrate the range of issues the nursing field has had to confront and resolve as its members advocate for fully-recognized professional status.

The papers retain the subject category organization established by Professor Houseman, and comprehend two fundamental narratives. The first addresses the efforts to define "clinical nurse specialist," establish appropriate credentialing and practice standards for psychiatric mental health nursing specialists, and to amend the Virginia Code to permit private practice, an effort that culminated in the passage of House of Delegates Bill 1024 in 1989. The second narrative follows on with efforts to develop a functional regulatory regime for this specialty, to obtain equitable third-party payer reimbursements relative to other mental health professionals with similar qualifications, and, more broadly, to ensure consumer choice for mental health services as well as the retention and expansion of mental health benefits in health insurance policies.

Dr. Houseman's filing categories include: "House Bill 1024," "Lobbying Protocols" and "Names," "Private Practice" items, "Third-Party Reimbursement," the "Virginia Board of Nursing," and "Virginia General Assembly" items. Materials in each file comprise correspondence; task-force minutes; brochures and publications, including press reporting and government documents; and notes.


  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1987-1990

Biographical / Historical

Clare Houseman, CS, RN, PhD, is an Associate Professor Emerita of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. Upon her retirement, the following biography was entered into the minutes of the Board of Visitors of Old Dominion University, meeting on April 11, 2008:

"Clare Houseman received a B.S.N. in nursing from the University of Virginia in 1970, an M.N. in psychiatric nursing from the University of Florida in 1972 and a Ph.D. in psychiatric nursing from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985. Additionally, she served as a nurse corps officer in the Army Reserve for 31 years, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. Houseman joined Old Dominion as an instructor of nursing in 1978 and achieved the rank of associate professor of nursing in 1984. In 1987 she developed the health services concentration area of the Ph.D. program in urban services and later transformed the concentration into a stand-alone Ph.D. program in health services research. She served as the program's graduate program director and as chair of the School of Community and Environmental Health.

"Houseman was a mentor to many doctoral and master's students, serving over 30 completed dissertations and theses, and was nominated for the ODU Graduate Mentor award. She has published several review books for nurses seeking psychiatric certification, as well as many peer-reviewed articles. In 1972, she was inducted into both Sigma Theta Tau (the Nursing Honor Society) and the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She received the Achievement medal from the United States Army Reserve. Her teaching honors include the 1989 Most Inspiring Teacher Award from the College of Health Sciences, being a University finalist for the Outstanding Faculty Award from SCHEV (1996) and University Professor (nominee). In 2003 Houseman was awarded the Child Health Advocacy Award from the Norfolk-based Consortium for Infant and Child Health (CINCH) in recognition of her work to improve the health of children."


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Language of Materials



Director, Urban Services Doctoral Program, Old Dominion University, Materials regarding successful Virginia legislative campaign to permit independent practice/third-party reimbursement for psychiatric mental health nursing practitioners.


The Houseman Papers retain the subject category organization given by the collector. Individual items within each category have been placed in chronological order, and the folders of subject headings have been alphabetized.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry Repository

University of Virginia School of Nursing
P.O. Box 800782
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0782 United States