The Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) recently honored six registered nurses who have changed the practice, research, educational opportunities, and governing policies of nursing in the state.
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Nurses across the state nominate colleagues who have significantly impacted the lives of others in the profession every two years to be inducted into the WSNA Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees were recognized at a ceremony at Tukwila’s Hotel Interurban on March 17.
The 2022 inductees included Dr. Sofia Aragon, Catherine Natsuko Yamaguchi Chin, Sally Herman, Dr. Anne Hirsch, Dr. Pamela Mitchell, and Dr. Sally Watkins.
Hirsch is the associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Washington’s (UW) School of Nursing. She has led statewide programs to improve education access through online programs, helped lead a design team to formulate a master plan for nursing education, and was recently appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to serve on the coordinating committee to establish core performance measures for health care.
“We’ve got to make things better, identify our most underserved, and provide high-quality health care that everyone deserves,” Hirsch said at the ceremony.
Hirsch has worked to provide health care to homeless families as a nurse practitioner. She also helped secure a $4 million grant in partnership with Premera to utilize in promoting health care initiatives in rural communities. She assigns students to rural areas to assist with the needs of residents.
“Premera has provided funds for us to give to students,” Hirsch said. “I like to make sure there’s a pipeline of students going to these communities, because if they go somewhere, and have a good experience, they’ll go back there to work after they graduate. Students need diverse learning opportunities.”
Aragon is the executive director for the Washington Center for Nursing. As a registered nurse and attorney, she worked in Olympia for more than a decade to advocate for access to affordable health care, protecting public health, and ensuring that the perspectives of diverse communities are included when developing public policy. In 2019, she served as chair of the Burien Airport Committee to focus on addressing health disparities experienced by communities living under the flight path of SeaTac Airport.
Chin died in 1998. Following World War II, she worked at the King County Health Department to help eradicate tuberculosis, focusing on the hundreds of Japanese Americans returning from relocation centers.
Herman was a founding member of the Northwest Region Nurses Association, formerly known as District 16. She was awarded the WSNA Marguerite Cobb Public Health/Community Health Nurse Award for her contributions to community health in 2003.
Mitchell served as the UW’s School of Nursing dean until her retirement in 2013. She has received national acclaim for innovative practice research, and advances in caring for patients with increased intracranial pressure in acute and community care settings.
Watkins served as WSNA’s executive director in 2017. She helped revitalize some state nursing programs, along with WSNA’s focus on occupational and environmental health. She has been tested before the state legislature, where she advocated for safe staffing in health care facilities.