Strategic priority — nursing practice

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.

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.


  • 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.