Featured speaker Elsa Sjunneson

October 14, 2022

Elsa Sjunneson is an internationally published author on the subject of disability and ableism. As a deafblind activist, she has worked to dismantle structural ableism. As an author, she’s written her memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, reported for Radiolab on “The Helen Keller Exorcism,” and been the subject of a PBS American Masters Short Documentary. Being Seen was nominated for a 2022 Hugo Award and won for best biography/memoir in the 2022 Washington State Book Awards.

Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight. Sjunneson has partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids. She cannot see well enough without a guide dog or cane, but she can see people react to her disability and often hears what they say.

Sjunneson will address ending ableism against disabled persons in the healthcare system.

Featured speaker Lois James

October 14, 2022

Lois James, PhD, is an assistant dean of research and an associate professor in the Washington State University College of Nursing, where she focuses on the impact of sleep loss, fatigue, stress, and bias on performance and safety in shift workers such as nurses, police officers, firefighters, and military personnel. She has received multiple honors and awards for her work and is internationally recognized as a leading expert in her field. She is the founding director of Counter Bias Training Simulation (CBTsim), a novel and innovative simulation-based implicit bias training program that has been featured in National Geographic and the feature-length documentary “bias.” Dr. James’s work has been published extensively in academic journals, practitioner magazines, and mainstream media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

She will speak on her latest research on the effects of fatigue among nurses.

Featured speaker Patti Timbers

October 14, 2022

Patti Timbers, MBA, BSN, has been a nurse for over 25 years with a passion for helping people and their growth. Along with being director of informatics at Northwest Kidney Centers, Timbers is a life coach helping nurses become the best versions of themselves. Her mission is to help individuals and groups find their passion, let go of their past hurts, and become the truest version of themselves to improve the world around them.

She will speak on personal change, motivation, and growth. Her talk will also discuss how to find your passion and let go of what doesn’t work, while refining what you want to carry forward.

Featured speaker Ronda Conger

October 13, 2022

Ronda Conger has flourished in a male-dominated industry for 30 years. As vice president of Idaho’s largest homebuilder, CBH Homes, she leads the troops daily and has overseen all areas of the company for the past 20 years. Her most recent accomplishment is being named 2021 Woman of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders.

Serving is important to Conger. Her mission is to spread movements with her books: Better Human, Better Thinking, You Go First, and the latest book, Leading Through Extraordinary Times.

The award-winning author and highly acclaimed national speaker will talk on inspirational leadership through extraordinary times.

Deafblind convention speaker wins book award

September 21, 2022

Elsa Sjunneson on a mission to end ableism

Elsa Sjunneson, a keynote speaker at the May 2023 Washington State Nurses Convention, is one of eight winners for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards.

Sjunneson won in the category best memoir/biography for her book, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism.

Sjunneson was born with congenital rubella syndrome or CRS, resulting in multiple disabilities, including sight and hearing loss. She has a prosthetic eye and partial vision in the other, and she wears bilateral hearing aids. She cannot see well enough without a guide dog or cane, but she can see people react to her disability and often hears what they say.

Described as a “deafblind hurricane in a vintage dress,” Sjunneson’s book describes her experience at the crossroads of vision and sight, and how the misrepresentation of disability in popular culture harms us all.

At the May 17-19 Washington State Nurses Convention, she will address ending ableism against people with disabilities in the healthcare system.

Sjunneson, the subject of a 2019 PBS American Masters Short Documentary, said she wakes up every day with “a burning fire in my chest” to break stereotypes trying to define her.

She is a fencer, hiker, swing dancer, and speculative fiction writer who calls herself loud, snarky, and sarcastic.

Sjunneson is also an internationally published author on the subject of disability and ableism. As a deafblind activist she has worked to dismantle structural ableism. As an author, she has put a torchlight on disability stereotypes. She wrote a series of essays for on how blindness is represented in movies and television shows. She wrote an opinion piece in CNN before the pandemic (2019) on her message to anti-vaxxers. Her mother was exposed to German measles when she was pregnant with Sjunneson in 1985, which led to CRS. She said her mother didn’t know she needed an MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) booster like is widely known today.

She has written guest essays in Metro UK and New York Times on how the world has wrongly portrayed Helen Keller as a fraud and a disability angel. She reported for RadioLab on the “Helen Keller exorcism,” and she contributed a story in Women of Marvel #1 among other projects.

She is also a game designer and writes about inclusive game design.

Her book, Being Seen ,was one of 243 submissions for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards. The finalists, announced Sept. 9., were selected by members of The Washington Center for the Book and The Seattle Public Library.

Sjunneson’s has a master’s degree in women’s literature from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. Her website is at

Perinatal patients, nurses explain how hospital pandemic policies failed them; PNHCC Researcher award winner Molly Altman is lead author on study

April 8, 2021

Molly Altman, recipient of the Researcher award from the Profes­sional Nursing and Health Care Council (PNHCC), is lead author on a new University of Washington (UW) study that explores how changes to hospital policies and procedures during the pandemic had negative outcomes for maternity patients and nurses.

“We found that visitor restrictions and separation policies were harming families and nurses," said Altman, an assistant professor in the UW School of Nursing. "The effects for patients included loneliness, isolation and mistrust, while nurses described mistrust and low morale."

Learn more on the UW website.