2017 Annual Report

Highlights from 2017

We are pleased to share with you our accomplishments from the past year. We are thankful for your support, and are excited for new growth.

As always, please contact me if you are interested or have questions or comments about WCN at SofiaA@WCNursing.org.

Hats Off to Nurses: Celebrating the Nurses in Our Lives

hats off
Pictured: WCN Vice President Chris Birchem (right) with the family of a 2017 Honored Nurse at the inaugural Hats Off to Nurses event.

Our fashionable kickoff to the 2017 Nurses Week was a fun way to honor accomplished Washington State nurses.

A huge thank you to all who attended! The event raised almost $4,000 for our work.

Providing the best available data on the nursing workforce

Nursing Student Diversity Survey

After collecting input from 295 nursing students at the 2016 Nursing Students of Washington State Convention and online on their experiences with diversity and inclusion in nursing education, the Washington Center for Nursing, with input from a broad stakeholder group, has put forth recommendations for strategies that promote recruitment, retention, graduation and leadership development of future diverse students from underrepresented groups. One key factor from the survey: Promoting outreach and recruitment to families of underrepresented students is one of the key strategies for making nursing more inclusive. Read the full report and recommendations here.

Transition to practice in acute care

We conducted a survey of Washington State acute-care hospitals on their Transition-to-Practice (TTP) programs for nurses. This was a second survey after WCN queried hospitals in 2010. With the help of the Washington State Hospital Association and the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, we attempted to distribute the survey to all 92 DOH-certified hospitals in the state and received 31 responses from hospitals in rural and urban settings, representing a wide geographic range. Read the full report here.

Out of those who responded, 20 (71%) stated that they have a TTP program; and 8 (29%) do not. This report will inform WCN’s ongoing transition-to-practice work, such as adding resources for hospitals that want to build or enhance their TTP programs. (We are building a TTP toolkit for non-acute settings; stay tuned!)

Another highlight is the increase in the number of respondents who emphasized: 1) Safe medication administration, and 2) Patient safety, an uptick from the 2010 survey.  Many resources emphasize the key role of registered nurses in these two areas of practice.

Washington State nurse faculty survey

Nursing faculty fulfill many different roles in their institutions, including teaching in laboratory (including simulation), clinical, and classroom settings. We surveyed WA nurse educators about their job satisfaction, plans for the future, and other important factors that impact the future of the RN workforce. The highlights:

  • Nurse educators enjoy professional satisfaction. Most survey respondents are highly satisfied or satisfied with being a nurse educator, especially when it comes to relationships with students, colleagues, management, and professional autonomy.
  • However, income and workload are the top dissatisfiers among nurse educators. Faculty work an average of 50 hours per week when school is in session and 20 hours per week when school is not in session.  Nurse faculty employment contracts are limited to when school is in session. As competition increases for nursing services across health care sectors, if noncompetitive compensation and concerns about workload continue, this will create challenges in recruiting and retaining future nurse educators.
  • When asked what was the main reason for considering leaving nursing education within the last year, the most frequent reason was higher pay, followed by lack of a manageable workload.
  • Retirement was the most-frequently cited plan for actually leaving a current nursing faculty position. The age range of those responding to this survey is from 30 to 70 years old, with a median age of 55. The average age of RNs in Washington is 47. 2
  • Nursing faculty lack racial and ethnic diversity. According to the 2012 US Census, ethnic minority groups make up 30.2 % of Washington State’s population. This is a concern, given a trend we see in the demographics of the nursing student population as well as the general community which nurses serve.

We are working to address these issues and more in our Action Now! work.

Active Community Collaboration

Our collaboration with nursing organizations as well as interprofessional partners makes our work stronger. We have partnered with the Health Care Authority (HCA) to promote nurses’ involvement in Healthier Washington initiative. I participate on the Healthier Washington initiative’s Communities and Equity Accelerator Committee, along with other nurse leaders Gail Fast, Kim Williams and WCN Board member and past president Victoria Fletcher. We also partnered with the HCA to produce a video (read more under Leadership).

Strengthening Nursing’s Influence in a Rapidly Changing Health Care Environment

Pictured: Dorene Hersh and Katie Eilers at a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Nursing conference, presenting their work on nurses’ engagement in population health.

The Leadership Washington Nursing Action Coalition, led by Public Health Nurse Leaders Dorene Hersh, MN, RN, Chief of Nursing for Public Health Seattle and King County and Katie Eilers, MPH, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, Community Health Director for the Kitsap Public Health District, has spearheaded a project to promote nurses’ involvement and leadership in  creating a Culture of Health. We have a strong partnership in the statewide Healthier WA initiative to improve population health.


We produced a video with the HCA called A Healthier Washington Starts with Nurses to mobilize the power of nursing across all care settings to lead health system transformation.

Advancing Nursing Education

Action Now!
Pictured: Action Now! co-leads Sofia Aragon, Annette Flanders and Mindy Schaffner with John Wiesman, WA State Secretary of Health, Washington nurse leader Donna Pool and Sue Hassmiller, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Advisor for Nursing, and Pat Polansky, AARP Director of Program Development and Implementation.

The WCN, in collaboration with the Council on Nursing Education in Washington State (CNEWS)  and the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, launched a statewide effort called Action Now! so that all nurses have the opportunity to advance their education, to ensure sustainable financing for nursing programs, ensure quality practice experiences for nursing students, and to create a stronger and more diverse faculty and nursing leadership pool. Click here to read more about the effort.
Acting on strategies to increase diversity and inclusion in the nursing profession

In September we held a powerful workshop in eastern and western Washington, Addressing Implicit Bias in Health Equity, well received by direct-care nurses, nurse administrators, students, and faculty from nursing, pharmacy, social work, and public health programs. This effort improves health professions education and quality improvement in care settings to better serve students, patients and their families. Visit our Facebook page to see more photos from the workshop at UW Bothell and WSU Spokane.

For more information on these programs, please visit our website: www.WCNursing.org

2017 Finance

Grants $0
DOH Grants $584,881
Contributions $18,986
Program Fees $156
Other $2,365
Total $606,388
Programs $508,449
Administrative $40,898
Development $2,677
Total $538,401
Margin $67,987
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