Strategic priority — occupational and environmental health

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

This story appears in Biennial Report of Achievements.

Our focus is on promoting healthy and safe environ­ments for nurses and environ­mental justice for all the commu­ni­ties nurses serve.

Achievements #

  • Won passage of the Workplace Violence Preven­tion bill and educated nurses on violence-preven­tion strategies.
  • Devel­oped an inter­ac­tive stress manage­ment video and resource list to provide self-care support to nurses during the pandemic.

Unanimous legislative win strengthens workplace violence statute #

In September and October 2018, nurses were punched, choked, kicked, scratched and threat­ened with death. Nurses involved in two serious incidents at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richmond and an incident at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma shared their stories in the Winter 2019 issue of The Washington Nurse, and WSNA brought nurses and lawmakers together in small group meetings to advocate for improve­ments to workplace violence preven­tion laws.

Spurred by the shocking stories and photos of workplace violence in health care settings, legis­la­tors in both houses of the State Legis­la­ture unani­mously passed the Workplace Violence Preven­tion Act. On May 21, 2019, Governor Inslee signed the bill into law.

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WSNA held “We Won! Now What?” sessions around the state
Top right: WSNA Director of Nursing Practice Gloria Brigham delivers practical tips for personal safety, Nov. 12, 2019. Bottom right: Bellevue and Seattle-area members at Wilde Rover Irish Pub in Kirkland on the evening of Nov. 12, 2019. Bottom left: Katharine Weiss, WSNA’s public affairs associate director, gives an overview of the newly passed laws, Oct. 25, 2019.

The Workplace Violence Preven­tion Act updated our state’s Workplace Violence in Health Care statute to provide more speci­ficity around what hospi­tals must include in their required workplace violence preven­tion plans.

In the fall and winter of 2019 – 2020, WSNA held a series of workshops throughout the state to educate nurses on the updated statute and how to keep themselves safe.

While the COVID-19 crisis pulled most of WSNA’s safety focus to addressing issues like PPE short­ages and hospital practices that weren’t safe for nurses or patients, we know that the problem of workplace violence has not gone away and will require our renewed attention

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.

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.