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Washington State Nurses Association appoints David Keepnews as new Executive Director


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David Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN

The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion Board of Direc­tors is pleased to announce the appoint­ment of David Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN as Execu­tive Director. He will join the WSNA staff and begin orien­ta­tion on September 15, 2021. 

Dr. Keepnews is currently a professor of nursing at The George Washington Univer­sity in Washington, DC, where he directs the health policy track in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. He has a background in nursing, public health, law and health policy, and has devoted the past three decades of his profes­sional career to advancing the nursing profes­sion. In addition to teaching and leader­ship roles in academia, Dr. Keepnews worked as director of policy for ANA and as director of policy devel­op­ment for a multi­dis­ci­pli­nary urban health think-tank in New York City.

Dr. Keepnews has also held volun­teer leader­ship positions in several organi­za­tions including ANA, affil­i­ated state nurses associ­a­tions, and the American Academy of Nursing, where he served as board member and execu­tive committee member for six years. For 10 years he was the editor of Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, a nursing journal focused on nursing and health policy. He is deeply committed to labor advocacy and has been an active union member in several roles as a profes­sional staff member and faculty member.

Through the course of his career, Dr. Keepnews has also worked as a staff nurse in psychi­atric emergency and commu­nity mental health settings; as a staff attorney for the U.S. Depart­ment of Health & Human Services; and as a faculty member and academic administrator.

Dr. Keepnews was a member of WSNA and its Legisla­tive and Health Policy Council while he taught at the Univer­sity of Washington in 2002 – 2004. He also has worked with WSNA on several projects including serving as a consul­tant on staffing legis­la­tion and giving presen­ta­tions on staffing and outcomes to WSNA members and to the Nursing Care Quality Assur­ance Commis­sion. He devel­oped and presented WSNA’s white paper on Mapping the Economic Value of Nursing and also served as a consul­tant on WSNA’s opposi­tion to adopting the Multi­state Nursing Licen­sure Compact as written.

Dr. Keepnews said of his appoint­ment: The compre­hen­sive approach to serving as a labor and profes­sional organi­za­tion is a key to WSNA’s strength. In fact, WSNA’s effec­tive­ness as a union ampli­fies its role in advancing practice and advocating for all nurses in Washington State. I am committed to WSNA’s union advocacy and attracted by WSNA’s continued commit­ment to advanced practice issues and to health justice — ensuring that nurses’ voices are heard and valued in initia­tives to expand access and elimi­nate inequities.” 

WSNA Presi­dent Lynnette Vehrs said: The Board of Direc­tors is looking forward to working with David Keepnews as our next Execu­tive Director. David has real leader­ship skills in problem solving and a vision of the future for WSNA. He has a strong appre­ci­a­tion for our labor work and legisla­tive successes. We are confi­dent he will be an excep­tional leader for the association.”

We would also like to thank Sally Watkins, who is retiring as execu­tive director, for her leader­ship and commit­ment to WSNA over the past four years. WSNA is stronger for the work she has done.”