Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Implement specific strategies to address social and health disparities within our profession, our membership, and our organization, recognizing that discrimination in any form is harmful to society as a whole and in opposition to the values and ethical code of the nursing profession.

This story appears in 2021 to 2023 biennial report.

Developing a DEI white paper / workbook on issues of health inequities and nursing profession recommendations for the nurses of Washington state.

Developed a module on cultural humility for continuing nurse education — one of the top-three modules accessed by WSNA members. The course provides an overview of cultural humility and its interrelatedness with such concepts as social determinants of health, health disparities, cultural competency, implicit biases, and privilege.

Bargained for the recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday in new contracts.

Conducted staff and member training on racial justice with the Washington State Labor Council; included a session hosted by the Washington State Labor Council at the WSNA Union Leadership Conference.

Widely disseminated the American Nurses Association’s statement on racial reckoning.

Published a statement in February 2023 on the tragic killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police in Louisville, Kentucky.

Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the 2023 Washington State Nurses Convention.

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Racial reckoning statement

WSNA is proud to disseminate the important work of the ANA in issuing a Racial Reckoning Statement in 2022, owning up to its role in perpetuating systemic racism. In the statement, ANA seeks forgiveness “for named and unaccounted-for harms” and issued a plan of action to promote diversity.

The seven-page statement was approved by unanimous consent at ANA’s June 2022 Membership Assembly in Washington, D.C.

As the statement describes, ANA sometimes acted and other times failed to act in ways that perpetuated racism and harmed nurses of color.

For example, from 1916 until 1964, ANA “purposefully, systemically, and systematically excluded Black nurses,” according to the statement.

The Racial Reckoning Statement also outlined other examples that disenfranchised nurses of color, which prompted Black nurses and Hispanic nurses to form their own organizations.

The Racial Reckoning Statement apologizes for “the irreparable physiological, psychological, and socioeconomic harm, not only to nurses of color but to all patients, families, and communities that depend on ANA as the national leader of the nursing profession.”

ANA CEO Loressa Cole, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, said in a release that ANA knows its work to reckon with its historical and institutional racist actions and inactions is long overdue.

“Racism is an assault on the human spirit, and we want to be accountable for our part in perpetuating it. We have certainly failed many nurses of color and ethnic-minority nursing organizations, undoubtedly damaging our relationship with them and in so doing, diluting the richness of the nursing profession. We ask forgiveness from nurses of color as a first step to mend what is broken.”

Moving forward, ANA offered 10 steps it will take to embrace and elevate nurses of color. This includes developing and implementing a diversity, equity, and inclusion impact analysis that is considered in all policies and positions of the association. ANA will also advocate for appropriate representation and inclusion in textbooks and other educational material.

Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, then-president of ANA noted that it is one of more than 20 organizations taking part in the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing.

“This work, though separate from ANA’s self-examination, informs our reckoning and reconciliation journey,” he said.

2021 resolution directs work of WSNA on DEI

In 2021, the WSNA General Assembly approved a resolution supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, noting that “discrimination in any form is harmful to society as a whole and in opposition to the values and ethical code of the nursing profession. “ Of the 12 “Resolved” statements, the last two called for:

11. RESOLVED our Board of Directors and Cabinet will direct that our entire association commit to becoming a culturally humble association by:

Interrupting microaggressions as they occur in our association and workplaces, whether they are intentional or unintentional, and use these as opportunities to educate, learn, grow, listen, and respond with respect;

Embracing respectful dialogue and courageous conversations about racism, privilege, white fragility, and oppression;

Increasing our institutional and personal understanding of tribal sovereignty, colonialism, and historical trauma;

Encouraging opportunities for ongoing training and learning in the areas of diversity, inclusion, cultural humility, oppression, and equity;

Recognizing cultural humility as a continuous journey of self-awareness and reflection;

Ensuring the association’s hiring practices reflect our commitment to fostering cultural diversity; and

12. RESOLVED, that WSNA will encourage white allies to listen and to support and protect Black, Latinx, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities and non-white indigenous families, neighbors and communities from racial inequities, so as to advance and attain equal educational, health and economic opportunities afforded to all in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

2023 Washington State Nurses Convention

Two keynote sessions addressing DEI will be held at the 2023 convention:

  • Elsa Sjunneson, MA, is a deafblind activist whose memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, won best biography/memoir in the 2022 Washington State Book Awards. She will address ending ableism against people with disabilities in the healthcare system. Sjunneson is a fencer, hiker, swing dancer, and speculative fiction writer who calls herself loud, snarky, and sarcastic. She is also a game designer and writes about inclusive game design. She told PBS she wakes up every day with “a burning fire in my chest” to break the stereotypes trying to define her.
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Panel will discuss WSNAs’ white paper and workbook on DEI. The panel will be facilitated by Meaghan Eagen-Torkko, PhD, CNM, ARNP, an assistant professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Washington-Bothell. She is a certified nurse midwife and a DEI advocate at the UW School of Nursing. She currently serves on the Ethics Committee and the Gender Equity Task Force for the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Tyre Nichols statement

The Washington State Nurses Association issued the following statement Feb. 3, 2023, condemning the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Louisville, KY: “The death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police should never have happened. It is heart-rending that here we are, almost three years after the killing of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and we continue to have incidents of Black people dying at the hands of police.