Louise Kaplan


Through her research and service to the nursing profession, Louise Kaplan, PhD, MN, ARNP has made significant contributions to advanced practice nursing as well as to the nursing profession overall. In her teaching, leadership and mentoring roles, Louise has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to thoroughly understand and effectively explain very complex issues to very divers and different audiences.

Louise received her Bachelors of Nursing from Simmons College in Boston and a Master’s Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the University of Washington. Always the nurse activist with a passion for health policy, Louise eventually went off to Brandeis University to earn a PhD in health policy.

Her nursing career has spanned two continents and bridged many cultural gaps. Her many varied roles included working for the Indian Health Service in Fort Defiance, Arizona and the Colville Reservation in Washington; a clinical nurse practitioner internship in Israel; political internships with both Congressional and State legislators; Medicare quality of care reviewer for the Health Care Financing Administration; researching and writing about radiation health effect at Hanford; family nurse practitioner in a rural clinic; nursing faculty at Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Washington, and Washington State University. You get the idea – Louise Kaplan keeps herself busy and has left an impression across the state, across the country and across the globe.

Louise is currently Associate Professor at the Washington State University Intercollegiate College of Nursing in Vancouver, Washington. She has been an active researcher for many years, working with her colleague Marie-Annette Brown for the past eight years on important research on Washington’s Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners with a special focus on prescribing controlled substances. In 2005, Louise testified on bill on behalf of ARNPs by using her research to support elimination of a restrictive requirement for joint practice agreement with a physician to prescribe most federally controlled drugs. Thanks to her research and testimony, the bill successfully passed the Legislature providing ARNPs with fully autonomous practice. This intersection between research, service and practice exemplifies Louise’s career and impact on the nursing profession and is just one of the many times that Louise has appeared to testify before the Legislature.

She has secured tens of thousands of dollars in grants and funding for her research projects over the years, including $25,000 to develop a distance learning program. She has also contributed numerous scholarly communications including articles in articles, book chapters, and a soon to be published new book titled ‘The Advanced Practice Nurse as Prescriber’.

Louise has always been an active and engaged member of WSNA, serving in a variety of roles. In the early 1980s, she served as WSNA Second Vice President for four years and served on the Legislative Committee. She spent countless hours organizing the first ever Nurse Lobby Day in Olympia ion 1984. Fearing that nobody would come, she spent hours on the phone almost single-handedly turning out 150 people for that historic first event. Now over 20 years later, Nurse Legislative Day has grown even more successful, with nearly 700 nurses attending each year, many of whom are students who all leave with a clearer understanding of the need for nurses to serve as political activists and policy experts.

After leaving the state to pursue her PhD, Louise returned in the late 80s and resumed her activism with WSNA. She served as President of her district association and was elected Chair of the Legislative and Health Policy Council and member of the WSNA Board of Directors in 1999. She continued serving on the Legislative and Health Policy Council for 10 years, working to expand WSNA’s role in health policy and regulatory issues.

In 2001, she ran and was elected as WSNA President, serving until 2003. During her term, she was the WSNA representative to the Washington Nurse Leadership Council which developed the Washington State Strategic Plan for Nursing that led to the creation of the Washington Center for Nursing. The Center has taken the lead on efforts to address the nursing shortage, improve faculty recruitment and retention and to advance nursing education. Under her leadership as President, WSNA also gained tremendous credibility and visibility in the health care arena.

She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and has been honored numerous times including the Graduate Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award and Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from the Intercollegiate College of Nursing at WSU. WSNA recognized Louise with the Nurse Researcher of the Year Award in 2007 and ANA Honorary Membership Award in 2003 for demonstrating outstanding leadership that contributed to the purposes of WSNA and ANA.