Letter from Sally Watkins

This story was published in the Fall 2021 issue of The Washington Nurse magazine.

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Sally Watkins, PhD, RN
Executive Director

Dear WSNA members,

As most of you know, I announced my decision to retire last October. Since that time, the Board of Direc­tors convened a search committee to engage in a national search for WSNA’s next execu­tive director. I am thrilled to see David Keepnews join the WSNA team, and I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my life!

My journey at WSNA began when I was director of nursing practice, educa­tion and research. During those years, I organized numerous statewide educa­tion events on topics such as safe staffing, just culture, compas­sion fatigue and many others. I deeply enjoyed meeting and engaging with our members during those sessions. I was also able to produce many position papers, palm cards and other materials as resources for nurses practicing in various settings. After almost seven years in that role, I returned to acute care working at CHI Franciscan for approx­i­mately three years. Jokingly, I have called those years my refresher course,” as I gained renewed exposure to the reali­ties of nursing practice. I then decided to apply for the WSNA execu­tive director position upon Judy Huntington’s retire­ment because I wanted to return to an associ­a­tion that works hard to advance the profes­sion of nursing on many fronts.

These past four years in this role have never been dull, and I have definitely never been bored! As we continued to engage with members and address the various issues and needs in the workplace, who would have guessed a pandemic would occur and shed such light on our profes­sion?! It has been an honor to serve as the execu­tive director during this time. It has provided us all with the oppor­tu­nity to reflect, recover and redefine our futures. Many issues surfaced, culmi­nating in my active engage­ment at the state level to try to antic­i­pate and address the workplace safety needs of nurses and all other health care workers. Our voices were heard, yet there remains much work to be done. Safe staffing remains the number one priority.

I have been honored to serve during this time in our history, and I am sure our paths will cross again in the future. But now, for me, I am eager to spend more time with family and friends, my dog and my garden. The nursing profes­sion has been a great career choice — and if given the oppor­tu­nity to do it all over again, I would definitely pick nursing as my educa­tional and profes­sional focus. I sincerely wish all of you the very best and know your life journeys will continue to evolve as you make the differ­ence in the lives of many.

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Sally Watkins, PhD, RN
Executive Director