WSNA in Olympia #

We stay on top of issues and bills in that impact the nursing profes­sion, health care and collec­tive bargaining. Through regular updates and oppor­tu­ni­ties to partic­i­pate in the polit­ical process, WSNA helps nurses stay informed and have a say in the decisions that impact your practice. 

 

2022 Advocacy Camp

Monday, Jan 24, 2022,  8:30am – 11:30am
The 2022 legislative session is just around the corner, and as we continue to navigate the pandemic, our annual WSNA Advocacy Camp will be online again this year. The online format makes it easier for nurses and students across the state to attend – will you join us?

WSNA's priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session #

POLICY

Fix nurse and health care worker staffing #

We need enforce­able minimum safe staffing standards to allow nurses to do their jobs safely and give patients the care they deserve.

In 2008 and 2017, we asked the Legis­la­ture to take concrete steps to fix nurse staffing in our state’s hospi­tals. Those laws haven’t done enough to address safe staffing and lack the enforce­ment mecha­nisms needed to compel hospi­tals to adhere to current laws. Washington has faced a shortage of nurses and health care workers for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic put longstanding problems in a pressure cooker, and we’re now at a crisis point. Hospi­tals in Washington state and around the country are seeing a mass exodus of nurses due to high burnout rates. As more nurses leave the workforce, those remaining are being pushed to their limits. Nurses in critical care units, once respon­sible for no more than two patients at a time, are now tasked with managing as many as five to six patients — compro­mising care to unsafe levels.

Bill Summary: HB 1868 / SB 5751 (PDF)


Staffing laws enforcement #

The past two years have made clear we need to increase enforce­ment of current laws designed to protect nurses.

Nurses and health care workers made substan­tial gains when the Legis­la­ture updated the nurse staffing law in 2017, and when the Legis­la­ture passed meal and rest break and manda­tory overtime protec­tions in 2019 — yet many hospi­tals are not following those laws. WSNA and individual nurses have filed dozens of complaints with state agencies that lack the resources and enforce­ment mecha­nisms to hold hospi­tals account­able. When enforce­ment resources are low and the penalty is paltry, hospi­tals are unlikely to change or adjust their behavior — resulting in working condi­tions that drive nurses to quit.

BUDGET

Invest in nursing schools #

While we must fix nursing jobs to retain current staff, a strong educa­tion pipeline is crucial to ensuring we have the nursing workforce we need.

In 2019, the Legis­la­ture made a $40 million invest­ment in commu­nity and technical colleges to increase reten­tion and recruit­ment of nursing faculty. That invest­ment resulted in stronger recruit­ment, additional nurse educator positions and new student slots in our state’s commu­nity and technical college nursing schools. As nurse staffing hits critical lows, the Legis­la­ture must continue to invest in expanding and strength­ening the pathway for new nurses to enter the workforce and for current nurses to obtain graduate degrees to teach. We must take steps to diver­sify our workforce by investing in the schools that graduate more diverse nurses. Students also need adequate supports, such as child care and tutoring. The Legis­la­ture must also take steps to break the bottle­neck currently caused by lack of clinical place­ments for nursing students.


Invest in school nurses #

With school in full swing, the Legis­la­ture must also continue to invest in school nurses.

COVID-19 response has dramat­i­cally increased workloads for school nurses, some of whom spend less than one day per week in a school building. Kids are coming back to in-person school sicker with chronic condi­tions that were not managed during remote learning, and many more are strug­gling with mental health and behav­ioral health challenges due to the pandemic. We must invest in school nurses who support students’ chronic condi­tions, triage mental health challenges, and who are respon­sible for COVID-19 preven­tion and response.

Advocacy toolkit #

Legislator voting record
#

The 2021 Legis­lator Voting Record was devel­oped based on priority bills that WSNA supported during the 2021 state legisla­tive session. Not all WSNA priority bills were voted on in both chambers, which is why the bills lists differ from Senate to House. As the voting records indicate, most nursing issues have bipar­tisan support in Olympia.

Find your voting district
#

Look up bill information on the legislature’s website #

News #

WSNA in Olympia – Legislative Session Week 1

This was a busy week of hearings on policy bills and WSNA was well repre­sented with several members providing testi­mony on key bills. As a reminder, all hearings and meetings with legis­la­tors are taking place over Zoom and are being aired on TVW.

Your voices were heard, and your activism made a difference

The Washington State Legislature’s 2021 Regular Session adjourned sine die on April 25, marking the end of the 2021 legislative session. While the remote session presented new challenges, it also allowed for greater public participation — and the legislature made significant accomplishments.

High-risk worker proclamation to be replaced by new law June 28

On June 21, Governor Inslee announced that three coronavirus pandemic-related proclamations would be rescinded in anticipation of Washington state's June 30 reopening date. One of these proclamations, the High-Risk Worker Proclamation, will be rescinded June 28 and transition to the new Health Emergency Labor Standards Act.

Governor Jay Inslee proclaims May as Nurses Month in Washington state

“I encourage all people in our state to join me in honoring the nurses of Washington, especially recog­nizing the critical and live-saving role that regis­tered nurses have filled around our state, country, and world through the current coron­avirus pandemic.”

WSNA staff contacts #