Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

May 2021 Newsletter

Executive Director Update - May 2021

Celebrating Nurses, The Time is Now

Nurse, it is a title I have been honored to uphold for most of my adult life.  When “nursing celebrations” came around every year for Nurses week or Nurse Practitioner week, I would give pause and quietly ruminate on my own personal reflection of my profession. I appreciated the free food, thoughtful cards and occasional trinkets provided by the hospital I served… then I would get back to work and not really give it much more thought.
2021 is different. As we celebrate nurses this year, there is renewed excitement, respect, gratitude and down right awe for the profession that is palpable.  This has been an exceptionally arduous 15 months. The strain and pain of caring for entire communities during a modern pandemic has left an indelible imprint on our very souls. Yet we have grown stronger as a profession because of it.
There is new energy being infused into our profession right now. Just this last week the National Academy of Medicine released the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report with a fresh lens on strengthening the profession through education, diversity and promoting nurses’ health and well-being. Additionally the Tri-Council for Nursing released their in-depth report offering a framework for transformation as we learn and grow from the pandemic.  

In short, we should celebrate. It may feel like it’s not the right time, there are too many other priorities, or the opportunity has passed. This is not true, this is exactly the time to reflect and renew our own alignment to our nursing profession and celebrate the nurses we lead.

You are the faces of Courage, Grace and Grit.

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Upcoming CE and Informational Events

Staffing Strategies: A Hiring Blitz? Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

1 CE Event

June 10th 09:00 - 10:00 AM PST

The facility that the leaders work at struggled to recruit/fill open RN positions. Attempting to bring in travelers to fill needs was not successful either. The executive leadership team needed to come up with a strategy to recruit and onboard nurses during the pandemic, quickly and effectively. The leadership team knew that there were new grads in the community that were desiring to get an RN position. The decision was made to set up a virtual new grad hiring event. The event included 3 leadership panels who interviewed 70 candidates. Each candidate was provided a 30 minute interview. The goal was to hire 50 new grad RNs. The event was successful and 45 new grads were hired. Due to the pandemic, the trainings needed to be transitioned from in person trainings to virtual. This presentation will provide how one organization was able to pull off and onboard 45 new grads during a crisis. 
Register Now


AnneMarie West MBA, BSN, RN Director of Professional Practice, Portland Providence Medical Center
Lora Horn MSN, MHA, BSN, RN Director of Women and Children Services  Providence St. Vincent Medical Center


New Member Meet & Greet! 

June 16th. 5:00 - 6:00 PM PST

It is time again for our Meet & Greet to help our new NWONL Members get connected with our offerings and answer questions plus meet other Members! Our Development Commission Leaders, Allea Thomas-Putnam and Bonnie Fryzlewicz will be hosting and leading our event. 
Register Now

Leveraging Nurse Call Technology to Improve Safety and Quality Initiatives

1 CE Event
June 23rd Noon - 1:00 PM PST

Now more than ever before, clinical leaders are being tasked with maintaining and improving quality patient care amidst pre and post pandemic protocols. Bringing together the right technologies can create a total solution that can remedy communication breakdowns affecting patient and staff safety and experience within the healthcare environment. Stephanie Kuhl, BSN, RN CPHQ of Jeron Electronic Systems will discuss options utilizing nurse call technologies to improve outcomes by streamlining communications to provide actionable information. Stephanie will refer to specific examples of successful peer collaboration through nurse call alerting, communications, and workflow utilizing a LEAN healthcare approach. 
Register Now


Stephanie Kuhl, BSN, RN, CPHQ, Clinical Education Specialist, Jeron Electronic Systems, LEAN Healthcare Consultant


News You Can Use

May CNO & Dean Rounding

Hollie Caldwell PhD, RN Concordia University lead the discussion on the impact of ongoing requirements for students (and faculty) to comply with outdated CDC guidelines for TB testing. There was robust conversation and discussion about the need for organizations (academic and healthcare) to reassess their current requirements. Change will need to take place as each facility assess the TB risk and CDC guidelines for continued testing. 

Situation: In 2019, the CDC updated the 2005 recommendation for TB screening of healthcare providers. View the report here.

Background: TB cases are actually quite low (across Oregon), although there are areas where TB outbreaks have created the need for more testing.  ACEMAPP guidelines provide updated guidance that can be used to facilitate change in requirements. 

Assessment: Current practice of annual TB testing for nursing students (in Oregon) is not in alignment with current CDC guidance or OHA requirements. This is resulting in undue cost, testing and potentially false positive testing. 

Recommendation: Align ACEMAPP requirements with current evidence from CDC and align with the 2019 guidelines. For more information about this topic, email to request the full CNO/ Dean Rounding Report. 

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

We want to thank all our Members for their dedication to celebrating their peers accomplishments. We would like to share with you the Authentic Leadership 2021 award nomination for Julie Gillespie, MSN, RN, ONC

NWONL Authentic Nurse Leader Award

The Authentic Nurse Leader Award is one of three awards that will be given this year by the organization. We start with this one that recognizes a nurse leader with a proven exemplar of servant leadership. They are nominated by a NWONL peer and celebrated with a special plaque in their honor and one of our favorite Leadership books. 


Julie Gillespie MSN, RN, ONC

"Imagine a leader who takes a group of extremely high performing professional nurses who consistently strive for excellence, deliver outstanding patient care, and have the outcomes to demonstrate this with a group of entitled, culturally self-governed, negative, and generally known throughout the organization as the team of "no" to create a combined department of inpatient and outpatient surgical nurses during a pandemic.

This leader and her team in collaboration with senior leadership took this on to serve our community and prepare our organization to re-start the surgical program after pausing for months in the spring of 2020. We recognized the volume we would be serving would be initially very high due to the backlog of cases that had been canceled. We would need to re-think how we prepared and cared for pre-operative, operative, and post-operative patients given the challenges of the pandemic, and the patient population (increased acuity, etc.) because of the shutdown.

The fortitude, compassion, diligence, strength of character and leadership of this individual sets her apart. This project has multiple phases and is still evolving. This leader leveraged the strength and knowledge of a team she has led for many years to overcome staff turnover, educational and competency deficits, emotional fallout, bullying and many tactics designed to derail this initiative to bring on new members and raise the bar for the surgical care continuum at our organization. As a result, we were able to manage a Covid-19 surge in the fall and winter of 2020 and maintain our surgical program to assist in the financial challenges associated with the pandemic. This new structure allowed us to continue to serve surgical patients and offer our other inpatient units staff who were crossed trained to care for inpatients and outpatients as well as Covid positive patients and maintain a much-needed revenue stream.

This leader demonstrates the kind of authenticity that draws people to her. Her peers would describe her as the “go to” person as she has organizational history, she puts her patients and staff at the center of her decisions and looks for opportunities to make what is already great, better.

She is kind, loving, and is the first person to compliment others on achievements and deeds. She leads with her heart first, but an incredible mind and sharp wit as a close second and third. Every person who works with and for her would share the sentiment that she is the ultimate authentic leader and this is why she is the choice for this coveted award."

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.

April Leader Highlight, if you did not read it yet... 

We circle back in April to follow up with Jen Packer, CNO at OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly Tuality Healthcare). We last interviewed Jen in mid 2020 in the center of pandemic response and her perspective now. Read the interview here: Leader Highlight section.

Career Center Update

Are you a Job Seeker or an Employer? We may be of assistance. We recently upgraded our career center. Why did we change? Our goal was simple, try to offer a one-stop service for Nursing Leaders.

Looking for a change? 

On the hunt for talent? 


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 

All Members - Monthly CE is our Goal

In 2021 we are striving for monthly relevant CE for all Members. So far, we haven't missed a month and there are more to truly valuable learning events to come that you can use immediately in your professional practice. Our theme for early 2021 is learning from our immediate past. For a glimpse: June is "Staffing Strategies: A Hiring Blitz? Lessons Learned from the Pandemic" and "Leveraging Nurse Call Technology to Improve Safety and Quality Initiatives" Keep an eye on the Events Calendar, your email and social channels.

Advance Your Professional Presence and Add to Your CV

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


What We Learned

April Virtual Live with Moe Carrick

Last month Moe Carrick joined us for our spring Virtual Summit to check in on how we, as nurse leaders, are doing. She guided us towards broader thinking on what it means to be resilient and how to help others “grow” through the trauma of last year. A few of my favorite take-aways:

April Seattle Council CE Event "Pandemic Impact on Nurse Resiliency"

Pre-pandemic, the challenge to Nurses mental health was already difficult. During it was exacerbated and post, it is unfortunately still a salient problem. If this comes as no surprise it is understandable. Yet that doesn't mean we should ever be complacent. There are updated approaches and data on early identification and intervention. It is our moral duty as leaders to ensure this is at the forefront of our priorities.

Kris Baird, "Be The Leader No One Wants To Leave, Even During a Pandemic"

Turnover is nothing new, but add COVID to the mix and you have a prescription for disaster. Kristin joined us to help take an honest look at the numbers including the rate and cost of turnover in healthcare and what leaders can do to create and sustain a more engaged, loyal workforce even in the face of a pandemic.

Upcoming Meetings, Events and Regional Councils

Councils and Commissions are engaging and excellent ways to learn 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 in 2021?

More than we can quickly summarize but we will try:

What is Large 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

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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