Washington State Nurses Association celebrated our Hall of Fame ceremony in person March 27, 2022. It had been four years since the last time we came together to acknowledge our inductees into the Hall of Fame. It was a glorious evening to be in person with these very distinguished nurses. Two years ago we recognized six of our very best nurses virtually. Yes, they received their trophies and we had great acknowledgements to share. I will admit, it felt intimate and warm and we enjoyed good conversation back and forth, but being in person was heartwarming. Due to COVID-19 we wore a face mask when not eating or drinking. Everyone needed to be vaccinated and without symptoms.
These last two years have not been easy for most of us. Every one of us has been tested in ways not seen in my nursing career. But I will say: I was so appreciative to be in person. The evening was underscored by lots of conversation and laughter. The six women we highlighted were Sofia Aragon, JD, BSN, RN; Catherine Natsuko Yamaguchi Chin, RN; Sally Herman, RN; Anne Hirsch, PhD, ARNP, FAANP, FAAN; Pamela Mitchell, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN; and Sally Watkins, PhD, RN.
WSNA created its Hall of Fame in 1996 to recognize the dedication and achievements of our registered nurses. These nurses have made significant lifetime accomplishments in the profession of nursing. They have given so much in the areas of leadership, vision, patient care, education, public service and clinical practice. And now, through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen heroism, determination and advocacy.
I would like to share a little of their background.
Sofia Aragon - Sofia is the executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing (WCN). She has a deep commitment to building a diverse nursing workforce to advance health equity in Washington state. I had the opportunity to work with Sofia when she worked at WSNA as the Government Relations director.
Catherine Natsuko Yamaguchi Chin - Catherine was a remarkable nurse. Her parents emigrated from Japan. She was born in 1920 in Seattle. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which was uncommon for an Asian woman. Catherine was immensely dedicated to advocating for her patients from 1942 through the 1980s in internment camps, public health and as a staff nurse.
Sally Herman - Sally has worked as an RN for over 60 years. She has always had compassion for others. Sally spent most of her career as a home care nurse. I met and worked with Sally when we were on the WSNA Economic and General Welfare newly established group. She was inspiring!
Anne Hirsch - Anne has improved the quality of life for thousands of people in our state as a nurse practitioner, educator, administrator, scholar and advocate. I had the delightful occasion of working with her at Washington State University College of Nursing. Anne was a nurses’ nurse! She always had time to clarify questions and give support. She was sought out as a talented researcher.
Pamela Mitchell - Pamela had a rich career as a dedicated leader and faculty member of the University of Washington. She fulfilled many leadership and research roles along with serving as interim dean of the School of Nursing from 2012 to 2013. Pamela also served as the executive associate dean of the U of W School of Nursing until she retired.
Sally Watkins - Sally has been an inspiration to many RNs and health care leaders. She was a staff nurse, administrator, educator and role model. Her last position before her retirement was as our WSNA Executive Director. It was during this time I got to know her and thoroughly enjoyed her company and humor. Sally was an excellent communicator. She was always authentic and honest. She will be missed!
The Hall of Fame was an exciting evening. We honored six extraordinary nurses who contributed abundance to our profession of nursing. They have made our communities stronger and healthier. I am privileged to have known them.
Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN