Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

September 2021 Newsletter

Executive Director Update - August 2021

Kicking off Fall

Once again Nurse Leaders are carrying the weight of extraordinarily complex issues that ultimately impact our communities directly. Our profession is relying on you, your expertise and your influence, to sort out staffing, surge response, vaccinations, compliance, hesitation, burnout, resistance all while staying grounded and maintaining organizational stability. As we move through this epoch of challenges, we must continue to find and share those stories that demonstrate we are united collectively across our profession and our communities. I'm encouraged by the tenacity of healthcare to persevere and their dedication to their service. I've included a couple of notable works (below) that specifically showcase the impact of nursing.

All this to say, I’m grateful for you. We in the nursing profession at the center of our current shared reality. I am comforted to know that you all are there and leading through these profound times. Because of you, we are going to be ok.

You are the faces of Courage, Grace and Grit.

Leader Highlight

For September Leader Highlight, NWONL presents our 2021 Advancing Leader Award recipient Gretchen McCullough MSN, RN of OHSU. We congratulate Gretchen for her obtaining the nomination and selection by her NWONL peers. 

The Advancing Leader award recognizes a Nurse leader with demonstrated resilience and courageous leadership. They are advanced leaders in their organizations and have demonstrated courage as they lead their teams of nurses. They consistently collaborate on strategic initiatives and lead with emotional intelligence. These leaders are often behind the scenes orchestrating large projects in complex systems. They are a mentor and coach and provide steadfast reassurance to their teams and organizations. They consistently exude adaptability and are steadfast in their ability to show up and contribute to the nursing profession.

Gretchen's nomination attested to the above and culminated in a statement by her nominating peers that distinctly conveys why they nominated her for the award. It is worth sharing: 

“Gretchen McCullough is a resilient, courageous, and compassionate leader serving as the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Doernbecher Children’s hospital. Gretchen is an experienced leader who came to the Organization just months before the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Gretchen did not hesitate to step up, however, though she was new. She used her skills as a pragmatic and compassionate nurse to lead others through resilience. She supported and grew a terrified and reactive team at high risk of COVID exposure through the pandemic. She advocated for her team through listening and translating their needs at the highest levels of the Organization. She sat on the Emergency Operations Committee, the PPE committee, and the COVID task force- advocating for her team and other workforce members with a reasoned and science-based approach. Gretchen also had the calming presence to tame reactive leaders from different areas during meetings on more than one occasion. Gretchen was available, approachable, and grew her leadership team during this difficult time. She knew that challenging her direct reports to lead through adversity and stress would make them stronger. She allowed them the autonomy to lead while still supporting them. Out of her leadership, we have several new strong Director level leaders in Doernbecher who are ready and prepared to take on any new challenge. While others were merely reacting to the next needed change Gretchen was thinking ahead and anticipating the next need. She managed to partner with and help open a NICU in our partner hospital in Hillsboro during this time as well as a pediatric unit. Gretchen championed a group to evaluate the model used to provide patient safety attendants in our Organization. This work resulted in restructuring the current model to be more collaborative. Under the new model, our assistive nursing personnel will have a more engaging role while still keeping patients safe. Gretchen also modeled and encouraged resilience and self-care for all of us in the institution. I will never forget how she lifted others and checked in at just the right time to support her peers during the pandemic. “

The Selection Committee wanted to relay that the robust selection of nominations submitted all are worthy of recognition. It is exceptionally difficult to capture the sentiment and demonstrated characteristics for an award of this magnitude. On behalf of the Selection Committee and NWONL Board, thank you to our Members for supporting their peers, all nominees, and again congratulations Gretchen!


Upcoming CE and Informational Events 

NWONL Roundtable "Leading Through Emotional Upheaval"

Informational Event Provided by NWONL
Wednesday September 22nd, 10 - 11 am PST
Register Here

"Moral and Ethical dilemmas in covid-care, vaccinations and making difficult decisions when supporting your teams." Join fellow leaders as they round to share what is working in their teams and organizations as our Region moves through a pandemic resurgence response that is very different emotionally than the recent past. A panel of NWONL Member leaders across the region will be present to share what is working and to engage with fellow Member Leaders to better position themselves and their teams as we move through these new challenges. 
This event is for NWONL Members and is included as part of your membership at no additional cost.


Impact of Covid-19 on Nursing Workforce"Seattle Council CE Event "

1 CE Event
September 28th 2021 | 5:30 - 6:30 pm PST

Presenters: Sofia Aragon, JD, BSN, RN. Jenny Nguyen, Ph.D.
Register Here

Join the Seattle Council for a 1CE event delivered by the WCN and SIA. The objectives of the session are:

Attendees are available to submit for CE after the event and completing the post-event survey. There is no cost for NWONL Members to obtain CE. We kindly ask non-members requesting CE to cover administrative costs of $40 (invoiced). For more information about the Seattle Council and to be placed on their notifications list please visit: Seattle Council at NWONL 

NWONL Southwest Washington Council focus topic for September "HB1310 and the impacts on our acute facilities".

Information Session
Tuesday September 21st. 5:30 - 6:30 PM PST

Guest Speaker: 
Zosia Stanley, JD, MHA, Associate General Counsel, Washington State Hospital Association. The Southwest Washington Council Chair is the Distinguished Healthcare Leader Suzanne Scott.

NWONL Eastern Washington Council focus topic for September "How to Care for Your Team and Yourself"

Information Session
Tuesday September 28th. 4:30 - 6:30 pm PST

Guest Speaker Katie Anderson, Licensed Therapist. Join the EW Leaders as they collaborate and learn about tactics, strategies and more to help Leaders directly and the teams they are responsible for. The Eastern Washington Council Chairs are the Distinguished Healthcare Leaders Tamara Sheehan and Jennifer Graham.

Second Chance "Embracing Our Diversity with Authentic Leadership with Anna Franklin"

2 CE Event
November 16th 2021, 9:30 am - Noon PST
Register Here

A Second Event? Absolutely! Demand was high for the initial August Live with Anna Franklin and so was our staffing and pandemic response demands... Many were able to attend and many said they wanted another chance. Anna Franklin has graciously agreed to a second round with NWONL. 

Why Attend? You simply cannot outsource DEI and expect lasting change. As leaders, we must both lead by example and empower others to do the same. 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.

Presenter and Facilitator: Anna Franklin, MBA, Regional Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Providence.

Washington DOH "Addressing Substance Use Disorder: The Path Forward"

6 CE Event
Virtual Conference with CE Opportunity
October 12, 2021

Registration: Addressing Substance Use Disorder: The Path Forward

Alcohol and Drug misuse continues to exert a significant negative impact on society.  The CDC reports that more than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year — a record number that reflects a rise of nearly 30% from 2019. Drug and alcohol misuse along with substance use disorder is increasing being recognized as a public health issue with multiple and overlapping causes. This one-day informative and educational conference is hosted by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC). Six Continuing Education hours will be offered with attendance. 
At this virtual event, you’ll learn about:  

Welcome Leaders! New Member Meet and Greet

Information Session
October 20th 4:00 - 5:00 pm PST 
Register in advance for this meeting HERE

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. 


Awards and Celebrations

A Noteworthy Acknowledgment!

From Member Leader Jennifer Nidalmia, RN, BSN, HN-BC:
"I would like to acknowledge our Vice President of Nursing, Laura Magstadt, at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. Josephine County skyrocketed in one weekend with Covid cases-one of the fastest increases in our state and region. Laura engaged not only her leaders and caregivers, but local community partners and leadership across our health system to make quick changes in care delivery.  She coordinated with National Guard for extra support, put up a tent outside of the ED to triage and see additional patients, expanded ICU and IMCU bed numbers, all while working critically short staffed. The deep trust and servant leadership she has embodied at her facility, enable all hands on deck and amazing collaboration. Literally with 5 days, the facility went from 125 beds to 177! Thank you so much for this dedication and action!" 

Thank you Jennifer for making the time to recognize your peer Leaders. We appreciate you both!

News You Can Use

From our Affiliates at OCN

Oregon’s nurse preceptors play a vital role in helping nursing students and new nurses transition into the nursing profession. With the increased turnover and need to onboard new staff due to the pandemic, Oregon’s preceptors are working harder than ever! We want to recognize their crucial work in keeping our nursing pipeline alive. To show our appreciation, OCN would like to honor Oregon’s top nurse preceptors. We invite you to nominate an outstanding nurse preceptor from your organization. In addition to recognition at OCN’s upcoming virtual fundraising event on Thursday, October 21 preceptors will receive:

From our Regional Peers at University of Washington

Eunice Soh is the program manager of the Work and Health Traineeship Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Washington.They are asking NWONL Leaders to provide feedback and interest regarding a new occupational health and safety certificate program.  The Work and Health Traineeship, a subset of the Advanced Practice Environmental and Occupational Health (APEOH) graduate certificate program, is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree from any discipline who are interested in developing workplace health and safety expertise. Individuals may be eligible for funding by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Are you interested in obtaining the Doctorate of Nursing Practice?

Are you as a Leader considering a DNP? Do you have Leaders in your reporting structure seeking advanced education? NWONL regional peer, University of Washington is offering a strong DNP program and we encourage you to take a look at their offering. Full disclosure: there is nothing in it for NWONL other than endeavoring to build a robust Pacific Northwest Nursing Leadership community. Why a DNP? The global COVID-19 pandemic and the unjust structures that underlie our systems have made it clear that we need population health solutions to help everyone stay healthy, no matter where we live or who we are. If you are interested in becoming a population health nurse and systems leader, consider the University of Washington Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in Population Health & Systems Leadership (PHSL). The program is approximately 3 years long, with a new cohort starting every Autumn. Applicants need to have at least a BSN by the time they enter the program. During the clinical component of this program, students work with community and/or governmental agencies. Graduates can work in leadership roles in various settings, including hospitals, health departments, nonprofits, and tribal organizations. Topics covered in classes include program planning/evaluation, community assessment, evidence-based practice, epidemiology, and health services, systems, and economics. Applications are due Jan. 15 for the priority deadline, or May 1 on a space-available basis. 

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

In August, NWONL has chosen Peggy Woolf, a longtime and exceptionally active Member who we consider a core-contributor to our Mission. Peggy might tell you she is a retired but given her involvement in the regions nursing initiatives, that’s an overstatement. What we admire greatly in Peggy is her demonstration of the impact of lifelong nursing on individuals, organizations and the communities they serve. We asked her to share some wisdom and guidance with us. Take a moment and give it a read.  

Career Center Update

Year to date (starting with our March 2021 conversion to Webscribble) 46 employers registered with NWONL's Career site, 62 careers have been posted.. Each of them selected NWONL as a Northwest Nursing resource  solely on its reputation and reach. It was already hard enough to find talented staff pre-pandemic. We know leaders and staff from our region most likely stay in our region. Therefor Our focus is Oregon and Washington plus the surrounding West coast areas. Take a look should you have interest: NWNOL Career Center

Development Commission Update

Scholarships and awards are keeping the "Dev-Comm" busy! Of the latter, the Development Commission is also working toward the Q4 Distinguished Leader award. This award is directed toward the senior most leaders who have demonstrated  accomplishments spanning entire careers. We are excited to present this opportunity to our Members. Look forward to announcement going into October. Of the former, NWONLs scholarship cycle opened August 16th. Two awards of $2500 each are offered to NWONL members pursuing graduate-level education with a focus on leadership. Application period will close September 20th at midnight.


Leadership Commission Update

The next Leadership Commission meeting in Aug 26 and for legislative and policy updates was postponed and convenes on September 23rd. We will report in the October newsletter to Members and place a copy of the minutes on the membership web portal. Contact should you need assistance. 

What We Learned

September CNO & Dean Rounding

Susan Stacey, CNO/COO Providence Sacred Heart lead discussions and presented on the challenges to nursing workforces across the region. To include, attraction, retention over the long term as well as short term initiatives for both RN and supporting roles.

We share the information beginning with Workforce Challenges:

US has a National Workforce crisis, it’s not just the Northwest:

Workforce Retention:

Workforce Planning for the next 5 years - Growth demand estimate per the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Pandemic Impact on Workforce:

Collective Wisdom, discussion highlights from the CNO & Dean Rounding

There is a distinct sense of the strategic and long-term overlaying the immediate by Senior Leaders across the region. Generally, the shared sentiment is we need short-term solutions for filling the nursing support role gaps. Nursing and nursing support roles really are the “healthcare workforce”, and the education pipeline is critical. Discussion centered around initiatives including:

Progress on initiatives brought forward by Leaders included:

Mike Dohlen CNO, Providence Milwaukee, OR: They are starting new nurses  with a residency that brings them to the ED as a functional-nurse so they can have more immersive experience and training with higher acuity nurses. This is helping to get nurses into acute care areas faster and with improved skills and confidence.

Dena Putnam - Gilchrist CNO, Trios Health Kennewick, WA reports they are leveraging Nurse Tech programs to fill the pipeline to nursing careers.  This has had a significant positive impact on their ability to hire the Nurse Techs as RN's after they graduate and they are already acculturated into the hospital.

Suzi Scott, CNO Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Tacoma, WA shares that in their hospital, students are placed in sitter role for 15 months, they partner with community schools and then transition to the hospital setting. This has allowed students to earn an income, be exposed to acute and hospital setting while in school and have better success once hired.

Susan Stacy CNO Sacred Heart Medical Center Spokane, WA is observing that staffing shortages are distributed unevenly across urban and rural communities within their system. They are considering how to re-deploy nurses from higher acuity units in the larger health care facilities out to rural areas where highly trained RN’s are hard to come by. Other great points from Susan include:
DeAnna Griggs CNO Leavenworth, WA reports that they are using first year RN students (CNA’s) and Second Year (LPN’s) in their acute care setting as screeners and in support roles to help infuse them into the work environment.  This has helped bolster their workforce significantly over the last year. DeAnna reports:
Louis Stout CNO Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA added to the discussion by asking the question of how we can focus on younger people still in High School to introduce them to healthcare jobs, specifically nursing. He also brought up issue of using clinical hours from employment (ie. EMT, CNA) as credit for clinical hours in nursing programs and asks the group "is there a better way we can balance the cost and time of school?"

Are you a Senior Nursing Leader level in your organization? Then the CNO & Dean Rounding is appropriate for your you and uniquely valuable to your strategic planning. Consider taking part. Email to request invitation.

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

Sept 20th NWONL Scholarship Application Ends

Sept 21st SW Washington Council

Sept 22nd NWONL Member Roundtable: Leading Through Emotional Upheaval

Sept 23rd Leadership Commission

Sept 28th Eastern Washington Council

Sept 28th Seattle Council

Oct 13th Development Commission

Oct 20th CNO & Dean Rounding

Oct 20th New Member Meet & Greet

Maximize your Membership

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. 

Expand 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.

Stay Meaningfully Connected and Informed

To move from a distinctly local operations focus to strategic and visionary leadership requires being attuned to what is happening not only in your organization but in your community, state and region. To hack a well worn phrase, no organization is an island... When you make time to join and attend Councils, information and CE events and contribute, you invariable are brought close to what is really impacting your community and region. These affect all of us in the Northwest, large and small. As a Leader, staying attuned to the what, where, why, who and how of your community, state and region is a hallmark of an influential leader.

Acknowledge and Celebrate Peer Leaders

We strive to recognize both the little and big events that mark our careers. They all are important in their own unique ways and ultimately contribute to the legacy we will leave upon our teams. Our primary methods is to both recognize strong leadership formally and make it visible to our members. Each month we seek to acknowledge the advancements and contributions of Member Leaders and affiliates though direct recognition at events and our Newsletter and a Leader Highlight. Annually we conduct our awards and for 2021 we have issued two thus far, our Advancing Leader Award and Authentic Leader Award. 

A Full Plate for Fall and Winter 2021

What are our deliverables to finish out the year? Here is a tidy list:

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 dues are $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. 

Need to reactivate a membership? 
We are not sure if you knew this but, there is no penalty for late renewals, your account will simply "time out" and you will go into a dropped-pending reinstatement status. You can pick back up when your able. 

Having Issues with reactivating or renewing? 
Nurse leaders are exceptionally busy... we certainly don't want to pile on, so email us at and we will take care of it for you ASAP!

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.