Strategic priority — nursing practice

This story was published in the Spring-Summer 2021 issue of The Washington Nurse magazine.

This story appears in Biennial Report of Achievements.

As the profes­sional associ­a­tion for more than 100,000 regis­tered nurses who live and work in Washington state, we are always working to advance nursing practice and ensure nurses’ ability to practice to the full extent of their training and education.

Achievements #

  • Dedicated issue of The Washington Nurse magazine to long-term and commu­nity-based care to raise aware­ness and highlight the work of nurses in this key sector.
  • Held We Won! Now What?” workshops across the state to educate nurses on new laws.
  • Added new organi­za­tional affil­i­ates to bring diverse perspec­tives to the work of WSNA.
  • Imple­mented new Learning Manage­ment System, creating a strong platform for devel­oping and deliv­ering profes­sional development.

The Washington Nurse magazine focuses on long-term care #

Long-term care was identi­fied in our 2019 – 2021 Strategic Prior­i­ties as a growing field in nursing that deserved our atten­tion. The challenges are growing along­side the demand, and nurses working in long-term and commu­nity-based care are too often isolated as professionals.

We featured long-term care in the Spring/​Summer 2020 issue of The Washington Nurse, with content contributed by WSNA’s Long-term Care Task Force. The goal was to examine the challenges facing long-term care, explore a vision for what it can be and celebrate the contri­bu­tions of the thousands of Washington nurses who are the backbone of the long-term care system.

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As we were putting together the magazine, Life Care Center in Kirkland emerged as Ground Zero for coron­avirus in the United States, and the pandemic exposed many of the signif­i­cant, systemic challenges facing this critical system. Early in the pandemic, residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facil­i­ties accounted for tens of thousands of COVID cases and as much as one-third of all coron­avirus deaths in the United States.

The pandemic may have cast a new light on the issue, but long-term care has been too-often overlooked by policy makers in the United States for years. Like our entire health care system, the demands created by a for-profit system put nurses in an impos­sible position all too often, and caregivers are consis­tently stretched thin and under-resourced as they care for those with long-term needs.

Meanwhile, nurses whose work is supported by public funding are often under-compen­sated, with few or no benefits and little insti­tu­tional support for their critical work.

When we have contained this pandemic, we must all continue the work to support and advocate for the nurses who work in long-term care to receive the support and resources to care for themselves and the patients they serve. The task force will become a standing committee of WSNA in the coming biennium.

We won! Now what?” education events reach hundreds of nurses #

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WSNA President Lynnette Vehrs (top photo) and WSNA Director of Nursing Practice Gloria Burnham (bottom photo) at the Dec. 7, 2019 “We won! Now what?” event in Spokane.

After passage of the Workplace Violence legis­la­tion and Breaks and Overtime Protec­tions legis­la­tion in 2019, WSNA held educa­tion events around the state.

The We won! Now what?” workshops were an oppor­tu­nity for nurses to learn what they could do to ensure successful imple­men­ta­tion of new laws. Nurses also had the oppor­tu­nity share innov­a­tive tips and apply an ounce of preven­tion” to enhance self-safety in their workplaces.

Events were held in:

  • Vancouver, Sept. 24, 2019
  • Yakima, Sept. 26, 2019
  • Bellingham, Oct. 24, 2019
  • Kirkland, Nov. 12, 2019
  • Spokane, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Tacoma, Feb. 8, 2020
  • Seattle, Feb. 8, 2020

WSNA grows organizational affiliate program #

The WSNA Board of Direc­tors created the organi­za­tional affil­iate program in 2018 to bring together the exper­tise and voices of nursing. Together, we more effec­tively advocate for the varied needs of nurses and the future of the profession.

We now have four organi­za­tional affiliates:

The WSNA Board grants organi­za­tional affil­iate status to organi­za­tions of regis­tered nurses that meet certain criteria, including having a formal organi­za­tional struc­ture and estab­lished formal goals. Our organi­za­tional affil­i­ates are repre­sented in the WSNA General Assembly, have a voting seat on the Profes­sional Nursing and Health Care Council, and are entitled to submit the names of quali­fied regis­tered nurse repre­sen­ta­tives for appoint­ment to ad hoc groups and task forces.

We look forward to expanding the organi­za­tional affil­iate program in the coming biennium, adding to the diver­sity of perspec­tives that enhance our work as an organization.

Action on 2019 Resolutions #

At the 2019 Washington State Nurses Conven­tion, our members approved five resolu­tions that directed the work of WSNA and its councils and commit­tees on priority issues. While the COVID-19 crisis neces­sarily redirected WSNA’s focus to meet the emerging needs of our members, we made substan­tial progress on the 2019 resolu­tions. The following provides highlights of our work in each area. Read the full resolu­tions.

Biennial Report of Achievements

Strategic priority - association vitality

Much of our work in this arena is behind the scenes: strengthening operations and infrastructure. In 2020, the WSNA Board of Directors added a focus on addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization and our work.

Strategic priority - quality and safety

At its core, our work is about promoting behaviors and practices that positively impact the safety of registered nurses and patients and lead to improved quality outcomes for all residents of Washington. After the coronavirus pandemic hit our state, much of our focus was on ensuring the safety of nurses and their patients.