Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

March 2021 Newsletter

Executive Director Update - March 2021

Glimmer on the horizon, is "face to face" a mirage? DEI, what's next?  Plus a Big Year ahead...

Face to Face?

What is that on the horizon! Could we be back face to face sooner than we think? The sentiment has quickly shifted this last month from post-pandemic problems to immunization frenzied response and now to “so, what do you think about trying to get some groups together in the fall?" That is a dramatic shift in a short time frame… 

I am tacitly hopeful with a measure of pragmatism for balance. Truly, I’m absolutely looking forward to being face to face again.

With that, yes NWONL has already started working towards this, and we are ready for it. You absolutely will be kept in the loop on our progress. What do you think? We want to hear from you.... Give us your response here, it will take less than a minute.

DEI, Whats Next?

We remain committed to growth in our DEI journey.  Over the last year we have purposely expanded our awareness and desire to identify and address our shortcomings and opportunities in this area as Nurse Leaders. It is clear that we collectively are ready for more; to move into applied knowledge and ability to implement and sustain meaningful change. That is the harder part… as its a journey not a task or project. To help us in this area, we have reached out to Frankie Manning and Valorie Taylor, accomplished Nurse Leaders and NWONL Members. They have provided us their perspectives in a candid interview. Available in our NWONL Engaged, Leader Highlights section.

A Very Big Year Ahead. Be a part of it!

We are well on our way of delivering our promise of providing relevant and actionable content and CE offerings monthly. April has two major events.  What else? We have relaunched our Career Center so it bring more reach and impact to both talent search and career finding. Oh and I'll be the first to tease it, our Board has approved moving forward on the NWONL Mentorship program via the MentorLead platform. A big year indeed.

More to come!

You are the faces of Courage, Grace and Grit.

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Presidents Message

For this Quarters update, I humbly share a story from our team at Legacy Salmon Creek, it speaks for itself. So many people put in so much work to make this event happen for these two individuals.  It warmed my heart and reminded me of the spirit of our profession.

Operation Date Night 

"As it turns out, there are silver linings in today’s world of uncertainty, disease, illness, and suffering, you just have to look. 

We as healthcare workers are constantly bombarded with the brunt and struggle of this current global pandemic.  Masks all day, escalated acuity of patients, varying resources, and no apparent end in sight.  Given these trying times, it is nice to occasionally hear something positive come out of all of this. 

The Salmon Creek medical team recently implemented Operation Date Night for two in-patients, one on the PCCU, and the other on the Medical floor, both Covid-19 positive, and isolated not only from each-other, but from their families and friends as well. With one of the individuals still a ways away from medical stability, and the other individual being ready to be placed on hospice, the possibility of these two parting ways and not being able to ever see each other again was quickly becoming very real. 

In recognition of this, the story begins with the PCCU primary RN recommending that we investigate a way to get them together before this very sad possibility actually became a reality.  This request was made to the charge nurse on the PCCU, who became very excited and supportive, which was promptly followed by calls to every member of the care team and Operation Date Night was officially put into play.  The responses were overwhelming and everybody that was contacted offered full support and was willing to contribute anything to the mission that they could.

It started with notification to the nursing supervisor, who was accompanied by the hospital president, himself, both of whom gave their immediate support and approval.  Following this, Spiritual Care was contacted, who also immediately jumped on board and took the idea to their team huddle for discussion.  Shortly after this, the LIMS doctors were contacted, who also gave their immediate and enthusiastic support.  The plan was coming together amazingly in the early afternoon hours of the day.  Following the go ahead from the MD’s, the nursing staff, consisting of both the RN’s and CHT’s were consulted to establish the best, safest, and absolutely most romantic methodology to ensuring that this dinner date took place, and was safe for everyone involved. 

Following the morning leadership huddle, the manager of the dietary department contacted the PCCU charge nurse and notified him that these two individuals would have free reign to select whatever meal options they wished, and that meals would be prepared separately and individually at whatever time was necessary.  Shortly after speaking with the kitchen, the spiritual care team arrived to the PCCU nurses station to provide decorations in the form of streamers, battery powered candles, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers to decorate the room with.  Additionally, the music therapy department agreed to provide live music via an iPad with the guitarist playing the couple’s favorite songs via livestream at the table-side.

At the end of the shift, the PCCU CHT primarily involved headed right over to the Medical floor and began to decorate.  Streamers were placed around the door, LED candles were placed both outside and inside the room, the bouquet of flowers, donated by the hospital, was placed inside of the room and the iPad was readied for the live music.  As the change of shift continued, the designated individuals prepared the patient and brought her to her husband’s room, where a gourmet preparation of clam chowder, chicken strips and tater tots awaited, adorned with candles, a rose, and fancy silverware, compliments of the Dietary Department. 

It was instantly an emotional event.  As we wheeled the patient in, the look of surprise on both of their faces was unforgettable.  We set up the patients with their meals, adjusted the lighting, began the live streaming guitar, and ensured all safety precautions were met for both patients.  As both patients became emotional, as they hadn’t seen each other for a long period of time, it was hard to not become emotional ourselves.  This was a good thing.  So many different teams contributed to this idea, which started as a suggestion, that it was truly an amazing event to be a part of, and to witness."

With all of the distractions currently taking place around the world, the fear, the uncertainty, it was awesome and amazing to see a team come together, and put together something like this because it’s the right thing to do.  It felt amazing to be a part of, and something I will never forget.  The willingness and the support from everyone just demonstrated the selflessness, sincerity, compassion, and empathy that Salmon Creek is made up of.  I thank everybody involved, from the bottom of my heart, and look forward to future missions and thinking outside of the box for safe patient advocacy that shines a little light on the hardships that we have, and are currently, experiencing.

- K. Espinoza

Nurse Leader Highlights

March CNO & Dean Rounding

Jen Fricas from Seattle University College of Nursing shared the work that the Equity & Justice Committee has been doing. This important focus on creating more accessible and effective methods for students to share concerns about identity-based issues how to raise awareness required a collaborative approach. Dean Swanson gently reminded us that how we take in information to understand racism, the impact, and how we evolve and grow through this is a personal journey that requires daily practice. Link to SUCON Presentation

Can you benefit from timely Rounding with peer Senior and CNO Level and Dean leaders? Contact to request addition to the Rounding invitation list. 

Leader Highlight Focus

In March we are working to build upon or awareness and desire to advance our DEI initiatives. We reached out to our respected NWONL Members and Peers, Valorie Taylor and Frankie Manning, both African American Nurse Leaders of distinction. Our goal was to hear from them personally what it means to be a Nurse Leader who is not part of the "majority". They offered a candid glimpse that is noteworthy and also identified key opportunities. We believe that the more we are aware and desire change and the better we become at crafting processes and cultural norms that mitigate bias, the stronger we become individually and collectively. Beyond ourselves, the potential impact on our healthcare delivery outcomes is profound. We emphatically encourage investing time to read the interview here: Leader Highlight section.

If you are a Leader who has a perspective to share... The Leader Highlight is your opportunity as a NWONL Member to showcase your work, bring forward thought-leadership, share a day in the life, a call to action, a retrospective, significant project or celebration get in touch with us, and let's capture some stories and work to advance all Members leadership practices.

Thank You Tuality!

Jen Packer CNO of OHSU Tuality is the latest Leader to enroll in the Large Group membership. Jen has taken the initiative to enroll both emerging and longstanding leaders in NWONL for personal and organizational advancement. Jen, your support further energizes us in our endeavor to deliver on our Mission of enhancing Nurse Leaders capabilities so they can be at the center of the future of healthcare in our region. 

Upcoming CE Events

Telepsychiatry Best Practices & Impacts on Nursing

Informational Q&A Event with Array BC

April 8th Noon - 1 PM PST

Hospitals and health systems across the country are experiencing a surge in the number of patients presenting with mental health issues. This presentation will highlight how telepsychiatry is making an impact in hospitals and communities across the northwest by supporting nursing staff. With insights and best practices from over 20 years of telepsychiatry program experience,  this session will help nurse leaders recognize the direct and indirect value attained through telebehavioral health solutions when implemented in a variety of settings. Attendees will understand how remote telepsychiatry clinicians can support their dedicated nursing teams, and ensure they are able to perform essential responsibilities while minimizing the extra burden of caring for mental health patients who need additional psychiatric resources.

Event Info and Registration Here


Virtual Live Event - Round 1 with Moe Carrick!

2 CE Event

April 26th Noon - 2:30 PM PST

Moe Carrick, executive leadership and organizational development pro has been resoundingly called back by the Membership to facilitate a workshop on developing personal and teams to "regaining our strength" as we emerge from the Pandemic and define our leader roles going forward. This is beyond inspirational, it is an educational and  actionable work session. You will absolutely come away with capabilities you did not have prior to working with Moe and your Leader Peers. We are thankful she is our continued Trusted Partner and are truly excited to have her back at NWONL in 2021.

Event Info and Registration Here

From our Partners to our Members: Through the Pandemic and Navigating the Road Ahead 

April Hansen, RN, MSN

Executive Vice President of Workforce Solutions and Clinical Services

It’s hard to believe we’re approaching a full year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020. No one could have predicted or imagined how COVID-19 would impact healthcare and the toll it would take on our staff. As COVID-19 cases rose, so did the workload on nurses to manage the increased patient load and hold their hands for comfort due to visitor restrictions. 

To effectively manage patient care, the demand for contingent labor skyrocketed to an all-time high of over 30K+ travel nurses. Rates increased dramatically as healthcare systems and hospitals competed for talent nationally. These presented significant challenges for hospitals and healthcare facilities, and Qualivis, a national provider of workforce solutions, worked closely with state hospital and healthcare associations to help alleviate the strain on their members.


The contingent labor market has grown to address the critical nursing shortage in the industry. The average vacancy rate for nurses, who are the primary patient caregivers in hospitals, is 9% — with one-third of hospitals reporting a greater than 10% vacancy. The shortage was evident before the pandemic when over 100,000 open permanent positions were advertised in January 2020. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the travel nurse market in 2019 comprised of 64,000 travel nurses, representing only 1.7% of all 3.7 million nurses. In essence, the healthcare industry relies on the 1.7% of travel nurses to make up for the 9% nurse shortage in hospitals. This sets the stage for an extreme supply and demand imbalance, which was exacerbated during the pandemic as demand for nurses skyrocketed.


Hospitals and health systems were in direct competition with each other for limited clinical resources. Rates rose dramatically to the detriment of many smaller health systems, rural hospitals and care facilities that did not have the resources to pay the market-clearing rates being offered. As rates escalated to meet demand, Qualivis remained an ethical and accountable partner for its clients. Throughout the pandemic, Qualivis rates increased slower than all other placements and remained 20% lower on average than the national market ceiling.


As hospital and healthcare systems move forward into the near-term (hopefully) post-pandemic world, Qualivis takes a personalized approach to develop flexible solutions for workforce management, from workforce consulting to continued service line expansions, including direct sourcing assistance, non-clinical staffing, locum tenens and more. Undoubtedly, recovery will include a heightened focus on recruitment and retention strategies. This will be challenging as internal talent acquisition teams are rebuilding from being furloughed during the pandemic. With 100,000+ jobs open for direct-hire nursing and many nurse leaders nearing retirement, Qualivis delivers direct sourcing assistance and interim management services.

In navigating the road ahead, Qualivis maintains a data- driven approach to stay ahead of the trends and provides ongoing education to help hospitals and healthcare systems plan accordingly. There is still much work to do, and Qualivis is committed to being the accountable partner to help navigate the uncertainty that remains.

Read the Full Report Here

News You Can Use

Council Highlight: Portland & Vancouver

Thank you to all of those who joined us in March to talk about strategies for leader resilience and engagement. It was wonderful to hear both Judi Workman and Courtnay Caufield speak to their experiences across multiple health systems exploring these important topics. If you missed the attendance, you can reach out to the Portland and Vancouver council leaders for the presentation materials and more importantly to be included in the upcoming Council sessions. The next meeting is Friday June 18th from 1330-1530 where we will be talking about Advocacy in Healthcare, exploring how we, as nurse leaders, can influence legislation that impacts clinical practice and the healthcare delivery model and system.

Career Center Upgrade!

We have partnered with Webscribble to update and expand our Career Center offerings to focus on dedicated professionals in the nursing industry. This relaunch means you can now access this highly qualified pool of talent easier by recruiting through the new and improved NWONL Career Center. Both new employers can create an account at, and returning users can log in with their username and reset the password. Benefits offered through the updated career center include:

Transformational and Authentic Leader Awards

A hallmark of NWONL is recognizing the salient accomplishments of its Member Leaders. There is much to celebrate coming out of 2020 and launching into 2021 and we want to specifically honor those who have risen above and beyond our Professional Norms. Which in itself is a significant achievement. Help us by taking some time to nominate a Leader. We will be presenting the Awards at the April 26th Virtual Live Event. Click the links below for full information and online submission.

Mentorship Program? Yes!

The NWONL Board has approved implementation of a Mentorship Program based on the MentorLead platform. We will be rolling this out in 2021 and are aspiring to be fully activated by Q4. For those who may wonder why mentoring? Here is one, all Magnet  Status organizations have a mentoring program. Another, it is very powerful but also difficult to get right and many organizations struggle, especially the smaller ones. We, like our peers ACNL and AONL are positioning to help our Member Leaders in this area. We are truly excited to add this capability.

Help Us Acknowledge and Celebrate our Leaders

We know you are doing exciting things out there that are worthy of Celebrating! And we have the perfect place to do that very thing in the NWONL Leader Highlights. Send us a quick note so we can be in the know admin@nwonl.orgWe know you are doing exciting things out there that are worthy of Celebrating! And we have the perfect place to do that very thing in the NWONL Leader Highlights. Send us a quick note so we can be in the know

All Members - Monthly CE!

In 2020 we activated our CE approval process and going forward, our goal is to provide timely and relevant CE that you can use immediately in your professional practice. Keep an eye on the Events Calendar, your email and social channels.

Advance your Professional Presence

Do you have something you would like to consider for professional presentation? Submit it for consideration Continuing Education Offering Approval Form

Upcoming Meetings and Regional Councils

Councils and Commissions are engaging and excellent ways to get involved and connected with your Nurse Leader peers. Join one!

See all events in one place here at NWONL Events

Do you know what NWONL has planned for 2021?

More than we can summarize but we will try:

What is Group Membership?

It is both a simplified registration and renewal process for members and organizational billing with a discount that recognizes the large scale commitment from an organization. Groups enjoy exactly the same benefits of single Membership in NWONL including: access to free webinars, legislative health policy updates, CE opportunities (CE is always no additional cost to Members), Council attendance and reference, formal board and committee leadership service potential, research on best practices, first access plus discounts on NWONL’s annual conference, regional and virtual summits and professional development courses. That said, if you EVER have any issues with new Member add or Renewal, regardless of organization size contact us immediately! We are a very small staff but we always want to improve.

What is Sponsorship? 

Essentially it is a member paying for membership on another's behalf. Its a unique method for rewarding and promoting others who may not be in a position personally or organizationally to obtain membership. Do you want to assist others in getting connected meaningfully to the Northwest's Premier Nursing Leadership network... this is your lever. Simply email us at and we will get you setup. 

Join or Renew

A Sincere Thank You to our Corporate Partners

Some of you may not know, but in 2020 and now into 2021 several of our longstanding Corporate Partners have continued to support us even as the pandemic continues and uncertainty abounds. They certainly did not have to, and in doing so they are proving yet again, they stand alongside the mission of NWONL for the long-haul. 

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