Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

July 2021 Newsletter

Executive Director Update - July 2021

The Road Ahead 

July has me thinking about the what is ahead. So much effort has been, rightfully, centered around the salient responses to the pandemic, staffing and retention, burnout and resilience, vaccines, overcoming resistance to vaccination and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)...  all demand our focus, but DEI, stands out. The others will ebb and recede or pass altogether, however DEI is fundamentally different. It stands on the foundations of the culture in which we work, live and ultimately thrive. It is beyond structure, and policy. It includes symbology, strategy, power-base, values, beliefs and overt and unintended behaviors by individuals, teams and organizations as a whole. Culture "work" is personal, ethical, moral, systemic, intimate and often ambiguous. It is not easy to quantify or measure and organizations often lack in relevant resources.  It can be seen from different opinions and perspectives that cloud decision making on where to start, how to move forward and who to involve.

Regardless of your level of advancement on this DEI journey, as Leaders we must always prepare personally and then look for ways to support our teams and staff to do the same.  That said, I’m not sure DEI qualifies as a response as much as an epoch of change. There is profoundly impactful work in this space being supported and led, in a true servant leader fashion, by our Members. I look forward to continually learning from all of you as we advance together.

You are the faces of Courage, Grace and Grit.


Leader Highlight

For July, NWONL asked Debbie Brinker, MSN, RN, CNS, Washington State University Dean for Clinical Affairs and Faculty; AACN Clinical Scene Investigator, Academy Faculty and Leadership Consultant to reflect on her distinguished career and offer what are some key learnings from her work in DEI. With 46 years of Professional Nursing, Debbie humbly offers some lessons learned and a call to action for Nurse Leaders at all levels. We are truly grateful for her unwavering service and commitment to the Nursing Profession as well as NWONL.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging: Lessons Learned and a Call to Action

You’re never too old to learn and you’re never too young to lead” – Kofi Annan

As with all of you the past year is one of self-reflection as our world swirled, engulfed with COVID, highlighting inequities and disparities in our population; a year where there is a societal cry to acknowledge and address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our communities, workplace and in healthcare. It’s been a year to think differently and be open to possibilities…with the guts and grit to transition to something new, follow (and guide) the energy of individuals who are hungry and impatient for change. Will this be OUR TIME to lead, mentor, and follow as nursing leaders to address social justice and grow a culture of inclusion and belonging?

Ask more, tell less.

I can think of examples when I explained why an offensive comment by a patient should be ignored when directed at myself, one of my staff or a student; examples of when I advised a student how to handle a situation, where I wish I had used better inquiry; or when it took me days to realize a family was resisting removing life support from their child because they needed to be outside so his soul could be released to the heaven (note: I was honored to be part of this beautiful experience once I listened and was an advocate). My realization: the more I know, the more I need to learn. Lean in with curiosity, inquiry, humility, and grace.

Calling someone in versus calling someone out.

Being right to confront a colleague who was perceived to demonstrate racist or discriminatory behavior by calling one out can lead to humiliation. People don’t change by being shamed. Calling someone in is about inviting them to better understand how their behavior or communication was/can be perceived. Present with humility and gentility. Be brave enough to share examples when you felt badly – share how you unpacked the situation, provided grace and humbleness as you acknowledge it didn’t go well, and what you learned from it moving forward. Yes, there possibly is an individual that may need to not be on your team if behavior impacts individuals and the work environment. However, this is a lead-by-example situation. Mentor/coach and demonstrate to students and staff, to reinforce positive behavior around EDI.

Teaching/leading efforts in new and different ways.

In my work with the Washington Center for Nursing, I’ve learned so much from mentors that have “invited me in” to see racism and discrimination with a new lens; that our efforts have been glacially slow, and we need to not just burden our colleagues of color but grow in our ally activism. NWONL and other organizations create opportunities to collectively learn from each other and lead change. Are we not all leaders? Be part of the change, don’t sit on the sideline.

Take more risk and support students/newer nurses to lead.

Our students and newer nurses are hungry for change. I’ve been privileged to co-facilitate a nursing elective at WSU re. anti racism and social justice in nursing. Each session was designed by students and included self-reflection and a call to action. How do we use students/new nurses’ energy, guide them, and give them opportunities to be part of our EDI initiatives? They will learn more about the school/work culture, feel a sense of belonging and “mattering” to the organization, and will be guided in their efforts that synergize with the EDI strategic priorities. We have a catch-22 type situation on our hands… we want/need newer nurses to lead in the moments, but they are not optimal, yet. It means we must make space for them to practice, feedback and learn as much and as early as possible, even if it’s rough edged and non-optimal (at first). They have the motivation, let’s give them the space and support. Especially around EDI initiatives.

Continue to learn and grow as leaders in our EDI journey.

Diversity is not inclusion. It’s a starting point. It’s a responsibility and a privilege to engage, lead, and follow to grow a learning culture with an unwavering commitment to equity. It’s not enough to recruit underrepresented students or nurses…how do we “invite them in” to be a part and create a sense of belonging? There isn’t a script or framework for overcoming this challenge. It is so very personal and intimate across many levels. However, I challenge all of us to contemplate this, as we have all invariably been “outside” and not invited in at some point in our lives.
Here’s to having more questions than answers. To collectively sharing our struggles and successes that lead us to new thinking.  I hope you join me in our collective EDI learning journey at NWONL and our Region.
Debbie Brinker, MSN, RN, CNS
Washington State University Dean for Clinical Affairs and Faculty
AACN Clinical Scene Investigator, Academy Faculty
Leadership Consultant

Upcoming CE and Informational Events

Rise Up as a Resilient Healthcare Leader Masterclass Series & Ultimate Dynamic Balance Bootcamp Information Session

June 27th 4:30 to 5:30 pm PST 

The dynamic duo, Michelle Troseth and Tracy Christopherson, from MissingLogic® will be LIVE with us in July to share two new learning and growth opportunities for NWONL members: 

A Free 3-Part Master Class Series on Being a Resilient & Balanced Leader (on-line, self paced)

Click Here to Pre-Register 

The Ultimate Dynamic Balance Bootcamp (September 13 – 17, 2021)

Click Here to Pre-Register 


NWONL August Virtual Live with Anna Franklin

2 CE Event, August 11, 9:00 - 11:30 am PST

We are highlighting three themes during the August event oriented on Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity

Why Attend?

This is beyond topical information, its an an interactive work session brought by true expert leaders with deep experience in advancing healthcare initiatives. At a minimum you will increase your own capabilities and leave better prepared to advance in this crucial area of organizational and cultural development.

Click Here For Full Information and to Pre-Register

Presenter and Facilitator: Anna Franklin, MBA, Director of Clinical Effectiveness at Providence.

Anna is a diversity, equity and inclusion Executive and Lean Six-Sigma master black belt with extensive experience in program development, strategy, change management, financial services, teaching, and communications. She is at the forefront of community led health equity initiatives across various organizations and communities. Anna is a thought leader in diversity, health equity and inclusivity, she focuses on social and political determinants of health and health system transformation. Her work bridges healthcare operations, strategic planning, technology, population health and public health – translating discoveries into meaningful, sustainable partnerships and practices for improved outcomes.

News You Can Use

Council Updates

Have you joined into your local NWONL Council?
You may be missing out if you haven't logged into your member account on the website, and we have been working hard to update profiles in order to connect you with your Council. Additionally, many of the Councils took a pause over the last year to focus on competing priorities and are now starting to schedule meetings again.  With so much to learn and information to share, we invite you to particpate in the Council meetings that unique to NWONL members. 
You may have noticed that your member profile was auto updated to reflect a Regional Council based on your address in the database. If you have any questions about this or prefer to not be placed in a Council area, just email us (email link)

What does this mean for you as a member?
Councils are your way to connect and network with your local and regional nurse leaders, a way to hear what other neighboring organizations are working on and to share and learn from each other. The councils are generally open to non-members as well, to give people the opportunity to connect with NWONL before joining as a member, so invite your nurse leader friends!

Where do you find more information?
Check out the event page (website link) to find all fo the Council meeting dates and times. If there is a Council that in a different region that has a topic that interests you, simply email the chair or co-chair of that council for an invite. 

Upcoming Council Meetings: Southern Council, Aug 4th. 
Council Leaders are Elizabeth (Anne) Hansen and Shana Ogle. Contact Anne or Shana to be added to their direct email distribution list for meeting invitation and agendas: 

July CNO & Dean Rounding

Kyra McCoy, the current President of CNEWS (Council on Nursing Education in Washington State) and Director of Nursing at Edmonds College, led the discussion on the challenges around the recent cohort of nurse graduates educated with plenty of simulation time and less "face to face" and hands-on with patients. Kyra invited leaders in  academic and practice settings to weigh in on, predominantly, the impact and perception of “simulation”.  In Washington some programs are generating new grads who have been educated with a lot of sim, some 50% of program hours and some 2:1.  Specific questions to the group included:

For thoughts, ideas or comments on the Rounding call, please don’t hesitate to email us at You can also reach Kyra directly at

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

We heard from NWONL President, Kelly Espinoza on what is different, ominous and our opportunity as Nurse Leaders. Take a moment and give it a read.  

Career Center Update

Coming out of June into July we observe that career postings have declined a bit but job seeker activity is much less than the previous quarter. Summer trend perhaps? We are not able to discern the underlying factors however it is quite possible that it is a very good time if you are seeking a career change as there is not as much competition. Take a look should you have interest: NWNOL Career Center

Development Commission Update

Our Development Commission has two projects they are focusing on: Awards and Scholarships.

Leadership Commission Update

The Leadership Commission meeting on July 22 included legislative and policy updates. 

The minutes from the Commissions can be found on your member portal on the website under Member Menu, Resources, NWONL Files:

What We Learned

July 14th, By Popular Demand, a Second Presentation on Seattle Children's DEI Progress and Learnings

Debra Ridling, Associate Chief Nurse for Practice and Research shared their three-year nursing strategic plan focused on Anti-racism and strengthening the culture of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This important work has evolved to over 27 projects focused on diversifying the nursing workforce, belonging and engagement, and learning and growth opportunities, including Academic partnerships. The progress they have made, their simultaneous bottom up/organic and top down/strategic approach have yielded great progress and promise. It also reinforced the need for a dual bottom-up/top-down approach to change, an incremental and adaptive approach and reminded us that patience is a virtue. 

June 23rd: Leveraging Nurse Call Systems to Improve Safety and Quality Initiatives

Stephanie Kuhl, BSN, RN, CPHQ with Jeron Electronic Systems graciously presented on her work across regions and organizations in the area of technology and process to drive better clinical outcomes. The cases presented were of distinct interest and there is always a place for leveraging technology. Nurse call is foundational but alas often deployed ineffectively or counterintuitively. Stephanie's work as an RN LEAN Healthcare practitioner shed light on multiple challenges and opportunities. If you missed the presentation and have questions or are embarking on a systems change, contact her directly at

Upcoming Meetings, Events and Regional Councils

Councils, Commissions and Events 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

Maximize your Membership

Help Us Acknowledge and Celebrate our Leaders

A hallmark of Leadership is showcasing the achievements of others. At NWONL we offer two avenues: the Annual Leadership Awards and via Member Leader Highlight and the Newsletter. 

Advance Your Leadership Skills Repertoire 

It is one thing to lead from a position of authority within the boundaries of your own organization. Its a completely different skill set to influence and lead others outside your organization and when you have no positional authority. Yet as we move laterally and vertically in our organizations and regions we must master the ability to influence and lead others regardless of their position and organization. The more you advance in your career, the more the need for adaptive leadership skills. You can read about this, even take classes and get mentoring. Ultimately do do it well means you have to put in the time to practice. Consider leveraging NWONL in this journey. Through Council, Commission or even Board Leadership, you have the opportunity to develop and hone your skills outside the boundaries of your position and organization. 

Advance Your Professional Presence and Add to Your CV

Do you have something you would like to consider for professional presentation? Are you a Graduate or Doctoral candidate with something to share? Do you or your team have a salient project or program outcomes that are compelling? Do you simply want to increase your skills at public presentation? There is something distinctly unique and valuable from sharing your knowledge outside the confines of your own team, department or organization. It is part of truly gaining perspective, feedback and advancing your practice. NWONL has the capability to support you in these endeavors. Submit your idea/concept/presentation/research for consideration Continuing Education Offering Approval Form. If you have something that you feel is worthy but not directly CE related, that is also an option for you, reach out to us via the Continuing Education Offering form (above) or contact us at  Sharpen your skills, build your CV, trial concepts and ideas and contribute to a vibrant Northwest Nursing Leadership knowledgebase.

What next for the second half of 2021?

Two quarters down, two to go...

Membership Info

What is Large Group Membership?

It is a simplified registration and renewal process. Organizations submit a list of new or renewing members, we add them and one payment is made for all. In lock-step with AONL, a Large Group Membership discount is also given.Group Members enjoy exactly the same benefits of single Membership in NWONL including: access to webinars, legislative health policy updates, CE opportunities (peer 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? 

There are Nurse Leaders in our region that do not have organizational support for Membership, for a variety of reasons and that is understandable. Sponsorship is when Member pays for the 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. A Member may sponsor one other non-member for a year. The cost is $95 and akin to the privileges of the graduate student level 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. 

FAQs. Is it time to Renew?

Need to reactivate a membership?

Having Issues with reactivating or renewing?

Want to renew early?

If you want to pay early, you can do that too, your membership term is extended for a year from its end date. Of note, invoices are generated 30 days prior to renewal. 

Re-activate your Membership 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. Every one of our Partners offers demonstrated value and we are grateful for their ongoing support.