Paul Kunkel, MS, RN received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1982 from Washington State University’s Inter­col­le­giate Center for Nursing Educa­tion. He went on to receive his Masters in Science in Inter­na­tional and Cross-Cultural Nursing from the Univer­sity of California in San Francisco.

Paul has demon­strated his dedica­tion to the under­served through his many roles in nursing. He recently became a RN Case Manager for the Surgical, Ortho­pe­dics, and Pediatrics units at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. Previous to that, he was a public health nurse in Chelan-Douglas Health District.

As a public health nurse, he focused mainly on First Steps mater­nity care, high risk newborns, children with special health care needs, well-child screening, and Spanish inter­pre­ta­tion and trans­la­tion for predom­i­nantly monolin­gual Hispanic clients.

Paul has had exten­sive experi­ence working with migrant workers in Central Washington. His ability to speak Spanish fluently is a major asset. In 1984, Paul left Seattle for his dream mission” to direct a church sponsored health care clinic in the rural region of Guatemala. Working with Hispanics was one of Paul’s goals when he entered nursing school. Growing up in Wenatchee, he witnessed the influx of agricul­tural workers who primarily spoke Spanish, and observed the limited access to the health care system due to the small number of bilin­gual caregivers.

His excerpts from his journal in Guatemala were published in The Washington Nurse. His work there gave him many challenges including govern­ment and polit­ical unrest, the myriad health care problems that stemmed from lack of nutri­tion, sanita­tion and preven­ta­tive health educa­tion. Paul’s under­standing of poverty was enhanced by his experi­ence in Guatemala and his work for the under­priv­i­leged continued upon his return to Central Washington and throughout his years of service as a public health nurse working with migrant workers.

Paul was elected to the WSNA Cabinet on Ethics and Human Rights in 1993 – 1995 and again in 1995 – 1997. During his tenure as chair of the Cabinet, they conducted a survey of all the men who were WSNA members to explore discrim­i­na­tion faced by men in nursing. The survey received one of the highest return rates on surveys for WSNA and shed light on the discrim­i­na­tion faced by men in nursing. The men surveyed had been nurses from six months to thirty years and 54% of the respon­dents said that they did face discrim­i­na­tion as male nurses. As a result, Paul has worked diligently to improve the image of men in nursing and has helped promote and mentor other men into the profes­sion. Paul also served on the Board of Direc­tors for WSNA District 7 Chelan-Douglas County Nurses Associ­a­tion, and was a delegate to the 1992 ANA Biennial Convention.

In addition to WSNA, Paul is also member of Sigma Theta Tau and the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, the Transcul­tural Nursing Society and the American Public Health Associ­a­tion. Paul has served as Presi­dent and on the Board of Direc­tors at Columbia Valley Commu­nity Health Services, on the Advisory Board of El Centro del Pueblo a Latino mental health agency, and as co-chair of the Wenatchee Mayor’s Council on Commu­nity Relations to promote positive cross-cultural commu­ni­ca­tion and advocate for the under­priv­i­leged in North Central Washington.

Paul was recog­nized in 1993 with the Washington Human Devel­op­ment Commu­nity Organi­za­tion Award for his work on the Wenatchee Mayor’s Council on Commu­nity Relations and also the 1998 WSNA Ethics and Human Rights Award from the Cabinet on Ethics and Human Rights.

From his experi­ence in Guatemala, Paul vowed to continue to fight and work to improve the condi­tions of the poor wherever I may live.” And that is exactly what Paul has done throughout his entire career!