Association vitality

Strengthen WSNA’s operations, programmatic infrastructure, and economic stability to ensure continued success by a diverse leadership and staff in advancing association priorities.

This story appears in 2021 to 2023 biennial report.

Continued partnerships with three affiliated nursing organizations — the Mary Mahoney Professional Nursing Organization, the Pacific Northwest Chinese Nurses Association, and the School Nurses Organization of Washington. We are working to revise and expand our organizational affiliate program, reaching out to nursing specialty organizations and ethnic minority nursing associations throughout the state.

Hired a new executive director, David Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, in September 2021.
David has a long track record and distinguished career as a nurse, labor proponent, professor, policy specialist, and advocate for our practice. He joins WSNA at a critical time for our members, our union, and our profession.

WSNA’s political action committee supported dozens of candidates to advance nursing in the state.

Washington State Nurses Foundation

The past biennium has been a busy one for the Washington State Nurses Foundation (WSNF), which supports the nursing profession in Washington state by funding nursing scholarships and helping nurses in need.

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was hard for nurses in many ways, including financially. WSNF responded to the growing need by resuming the Etta B. Cummings Fund, named in honor of WSNA’s first treasurer and designed to help the “sick and worn-out nurses of Washington state.”

This fund was used to create the Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant program, which provided $500 grants to nurses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. These grants helped nurses buy groceries, pay rent and mortgage payments, assist with childcare, and many other necessary expenses. In total, the Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant program disbursed $96,000, assisting 192 WSNA members, with no requirements for repayment.

Special thanks to Olympic Hot Tub, Cedar Creek Corrections Center inmates and staff, Glassybaby Foundation, King County Nurses Association, Southwest Region Nurses Association, and WSNA for their generous financial support of the Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant program.

The power of a PAC

The WSNA Political Action Committee (WSNA-PAC) supports statewide and state legislative candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to WSNA’s policy agenda. The WSNA-PAC can also elevate the voice of nurses to legislators by giving us a seat at the table where important decisions are being made.

In 2022, the WSNA-PAC interviewed dozens of candidates running for the state legislature, ultimately endorsing 77 candidates and contributing $6,600 to endorsed candidates in the primary election and another $8,500 for the general election.

The WSNA-PAC can be a powerful advocacy tool for nurses in Washington state, but only if more people invest in it.

To bring real change for nurses in our state at a systemic level through the legislative process, we must invest in the WSNA-PAC. The large hospital organizations raise hundreds of thousands from their members. If just 10% of Washington nurses, or 10,000 nurses, gave the equivalent of a cup of coffee to the PAC each year that would be $600,000! It’s time we all invested in the WSNA-PAC and the future of nursing in Washington state.

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Executive Director David Keepnews

David Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, joined WSNA as executive director on Sept. 15, 2021, and has been a wonderful steward of nurses in Washington state and of our association.

Keepnews, a nurse, lawyer, health policy expert, and leader, offers great expertise to WSNA. He has strengthened ties with labor and affiliates, and he has elevated the voice of nurses in the state through frequent interviews in the media.

Keepnews has 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, as a policy analyst and director for nursing and multidisciplinary organizations, and as a nursing faculty member and academic administrator.

He was editor-in-chief of Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, a peer-reviewed journal, for a decade and served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Nursing for six years. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Academy of Nursing Education. An alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Executive Nurse Fellows program, Keepnews has published and spoken widely on health policy issues affecting nursing.

Keepnews holds degrees in nursing, public health, law, and social/health policy, and of his many degrees, he said: “Each degree was a way for me to deepen my understanding of — and ability to improve — nursing practice. As I came to understand the nursing profession, I saw that public policy and advocacy play a huge role in our work and was drawn to that.”

He was a member of WSNA and its Legislative and Health Policy Council while he taught at the University of Washington in 2002-2004. He has also 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 the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. He developed and presented WSNA’s white paper, Mapping the Economic Value of Nursing, and served as a consultant for WSNA’s position on the multistate Nurse Licensure Compact.

Immediately prior to joining WSNA, Keepnews was a professor of nursing at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he directed the health policy track in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. In addition to teaching and leadership roles in academia, Keepnews worked as director of policy for the American Nurses Association (ANA) and as director of policy development for a multidisciplinary urban health think-tank in New York City.

Keepnews said of his appointment in June 2021: “I am committed to WSNA’s mission as a union and a professional association. I am in awe of the drive of WSNA members to stand up for safe staffing, patient care, and advancing the profession in Washington and nationally. And I am drawn to WSNA’s commitment to health justice — ensuring that nurses’ voices are heard and valued in initiatives to expand access and eliminate inequities.”

Organizational affiliates

WSNA’s organizational affiliate program brings together diverse expertise and perspectives in nursing. Together, we more effectively advocate for the varied needs of nurses and the future of the profession.

To join as an organizational affiliate, groups must meet specific requirements. They must consist of registered nurses and possess a formal organizational structure with established objectives. Affiliates gain representation in the WSNA General Assembly and a voting seat on the Professional Nursing and Health Care Council. Additionally, they can nominate qualified registered nurse representatives for appointment to various ad hoc groups and task forces.

Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization

MMPNO’s mission is to provide financial aid and scholarships to students of African heritage who pursue studies leading to careers in professional nursing.

Pacific-Northwest Chinese Nurses Association

PCNA’s aim is to establish a platform for members to make connections and exchange career resources with one another. Their mission is to diversify the future nursing workforce with the hope of improving minority health statuses.

School Nurse Organization of Washington

SNOW supports school nurses in the delivery of health services designed to improve the health and academic success of students.