Congratulations, 2017 Leadership Award winners!

Harry James Optimized
Outstanding Local Unit Chairperson

Harry James, RN #

Univer­sity of Washington Medical Center, Seattle

Harry has been on the negoti­a­tion team for 20 years. He is known for his ability to keep his team informed and for making the extra effort to commu­ni­cate with the nurses in his facility. Harry is well respected by both peers and manage­ment for his leader­ship skills and calm demeanor. He is always steady in the face of adver­sity and acts as a true mentor to new members.

Harry is the first WSNA person to greet newly hired nurses at UWMC and presents the best first impres­sion of the positive influ­ence the union has on everyday life at UWMC. He is helping the next gener­a­tion learn to advocate for RNs.

Harry gives selflessly of his time and talent to lead his local unit and is always faithful to his leader­ship role. The person who nominated Harry called him a real unsung hero!”

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Outstanding Local Unit Chairperson

Edna Cortez, RN #

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle

Edna is a longtime member and leader in her local bargaining unit. She tirelessly gives of her time to help other nurses in the facility. Her strong voice and commit­ment to the nurses at Children’s has been unparalleled.

To know Edna is to know a confi­dent yet humble person. She is never too tired to listen to a nurse’s concerns or to repre­sent them in speaking to manage­ment. She is active in chairing or co-chairing numerous hospital commit­tees and has been a vital part of the negoti­a­tion team during the last several contract cycles.

Edna is an excel­lent commu­ni­cator, fielding calls and email from members, as well as using the Local Unit Facebook page to promote visibility and commu­ni­ca­tion among the nurses at Children’s. Edna’s natural ability to mentor, inspire and never give up” are unsurpassed.

Joan Guercia1 Copy
Outstanding Local Unit Chairperson

Joan Guercia, MSN, BSN #

Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Richland

Joan is not only a griev­ance officer, she is also a true leader and a team builder who has the strength and dedica­tion to serve as Local Unit Chair while an active griev­ance officer. Joan knows how to make each member feel that she has his or her back and that she is in the fight along­side them, defending each and every one!

She maintains a positive attitude in the face of negativity, is vigilant in pursuing facts instead of accepting fiction and encour­ages positive commu­ni­ca­tion in her peers.

Joan is always avail­able to nurses who have a griev­ance and is known to go to admin­is­tra­tion whenever she feels there is a problem that needs her advocacy. During her many years in nursing, Joan has worked in many specialty areas and is admired for her compas­sion, profes­sion­alism and compe­tence. Joan is very knowl­edge­able and is a great resource. She loves helping!

Cj Johnson
Membership Award

Christo­pher CJ” Johnston, RN 

Multi­Care Tacoma General Hospital, Tacoma

As a bargaining unit leader, CJ is very active in many aspects of his local unit. He attends new hire orien­ta­tion whenever possible and is constantly recruiting nurses as local unit reps. CJ takes respon­si­bility for many of the WSNA bulletin boards, keeping them neat and up to date. He is noted especially for his ability and initia­tive in utilizing social media to recruit and engage members. During recent periods of turmoil at Tacoma General, CJ was a steady support for his co-workers, offering kindness, caring and an objec­tive attitude.

CJ is always willing to help in any way he can to strengthen the member­ship visibility of WSNA, to help nurses under­stand how WSNA impacts them and to tell nurses how they can get more involved in WSNA. He serves on the Nurse Confer­ence Committee, as well as partic­i­pating actively on the negoti­a­tion team for several contract cycles.

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Membership Award

Dianne Didi” Gray, RN 

Peace­Health South­west Medical Center, Vancouver

Didi is an excep­tional person. She is a leader in her local unit as well as the greater Labor commu­nity in south­west Washington, serving on various councils and boards while working and parenting two young children.

Didi has been actively working to build the member­ship and engage­ment of nurses in her Local Unit for years. She regularly meets with groups of newly hired nurses as a repre­sen­ta­tive of WSNA to explain the ways that their WSNA member­ship benefits all.

Didi is known to nurses throughout the hospital as a dedicated WSNA member, willing to help in any way that she can to strengthen and support her unit.

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Rising Star

Michelle Burton, RN #

Public Health – Seattle & King County

Michelle is an emerging leader in her local unit and in WSNA. She has been active in her local unit for several years, attending meetings and being vocal.

In the past year, Michelle has demon­strated her commit­ment to her local unit and fellow nurses by supporting colleagues through a diffi­cult griev­ance time, even though it meant more work for her. She is compas­sionate toward her peers and their dedica­tion to safe patient care. Michelle stepped forward as a witness in a griev­ance meeting that might have put her in a very diffi­cult situa­tion with her supervisor.

Michelle is respected by her peers and continues to show excel­lent leader­ship, commu­ni­ca­tion and organi­za­tional skills.

Adversity Award

Northwest Hospital Negotiating Team #

North­west Hospital, Seattle

This team is tough! They stood together through challenging times. They worked long and hard, at their own personal finan­cial sacri­fice. There were those in the bargaining unit who were quick to criti­cize them but did not want to work to make things better.

This team was stead­fast, though the very people they were working to repre­sent were giving them verbal abuse in the background. Despite the hardships, they remained calm and professional.

Through it all, this brave and tremen­dously strong team continued to go to the table to get the best contract possible for all members of the bargaining unit.

Adversity Award

Emergency Department Nurses #

Univer­sity of Washington Medical Center, Seattle

As you can imagine, the ED at UWMC is a fast-paced and often chaotic place in which to work. When you add in dealing with construc­tion and the disrup­tions it causes, along with high acuity and high census, one can under­stand that it takes a special type of nurse to work there. The stresses of dealing with just one shift in this area are truly excep­tional; dealing with it week after week is daunting.

Through all the diffi­cul­ties this year, this group of nurses has maintained their focus on their reason for being nurses. They always provide the best possible care to each person who presents at their doors, regard­less of gender, illness or economic status. All of these ER nurses proudly repre­sent profes­sional nursing to their patients and community.

Outstanding Negotiation Team Award

Northwest Hospital Negotiation Team #

North­west Hospital, Seattle

There is strength and steel in each of these team members. They have faced open hostility from other nurses at their hospital and endured harsh criti­cism from peers who were not willing to volun­teer to help to make things better. With profes­sion­alism and deter­mi­na­tion, they worked together to provide one-on-one coaching to others who had trouble under­standing the negoti­a­tion process.

This group had to overcome personal biases and conflicts to build a cohesive team and stand firm in the face of adver­sity. They were able to achieve unity and repre­sent the best inter­ests of the nursing staff, as well as the patients for whom they care, always keeping patient safety in the forefront of their concern. Each team member was so deeply committed to the long haul that they willingly sacri­ficed time and energy to stick with the protracted negotiations.

Outstanding Negotiation Team

Tacoma General Hospital Negotiating Team #

Multi­Care Tacoma General Hospital, Tacoma

The Tacoma General team faced an uphill battle from the first day of negoti­a­tions. Negoti­ating for over a year in adver­sarial condi­tions, they stuck together in an excep­tional way.

They worked hard to provide timely and accurate commu­ni­ca­tion to their bargaining unit. As WSNA pioneers in success­fully using Facebook and social media to engage nurses and the commu­nity, they have shown the power of this type of publicity. Through various event — from hiring a food truck, to public rallies, to pickets over the freeway which included an airplane towing a message banner — they were powerful and tireless. Whenever oppor­tu­ni­ties presented themselves, they spoke passion­ately about the need for safe nursing staffing and were successful in garnering the next step forward in the push for fixed ratio staffing in this state.

Negoti­a­tions were very challenging, yet everyone remained cohesive and deter­mined, never swaying from their resolve to repre­sent each nurse and each depart­ment to the best of their ability. This team’s profes­sion­alism, approach­a­bility and inter­ac­tive stance are a shining example for us all.

Emeritus Award

Terry Surratt, RN #

Formerly of Multi­Care Tacoma General Hospital, Tacoma

Terry worked at Tacoma General for many years before her recent retire­ment and has been a loyal and involved member of WSNA. As a respected and vocal leader, Terry led her unit through their recent successful contract negoti­a­tions, changing strate­gies as neces­sary to bring about the best outcome for the nurses at her facility.

Terry’s contri­bu­tions over the years have been many and are truly valued by the nurses at Tacoma General, especially those who have followed in her footsteps to become the current leaders and officers. She was so deter­mined to make these negoti­a­tions successful that she resigned her seat on the Cabinet to focus her atten­tion on her Local Unit. Terry is described by her nominator as a true motivator and advocate extraordinaire!”