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.

Please support scholarships and Nurses Emergency Assistance grants

January 21, 2021

In previous years, the Washington State Nurses Foundation (WSNF) has held a virtual auction during WSNA’s biennial Washington State Nurses Convention. Because the 2021 Convention will now be held virtually, the tough decision was made to cancel this year’s auction. We hope that this year, instead of bidding on auction items, you’ll consider donating directly to two important funds that directly support nurses.

It’s never been clearer how important nurses are for our community. We do our best to keep others safe and healthy every single day, but sometimes, we need help, too.

Education grants and scholarships

An important focus of WSNF is the provision of student scholarships, which is critical to the future of nursing in Washington state. While the nursing workforce is aging, the cost to attend nursing programs continues to rise. Between 2008 and 2018, tuition and fees at community and technical colleges increased approximately 45%, while tuition and fees at four-year colleges and universities rose approximately 65%. This presents a significant barrier to prospective students seeking a career in nursing.

In 2020, WSNF received 38 scholarship applications and funded scholarships for 12 students totaling $25,000. However, we know there are many more nursing students in Washington state who need financial assistance, and we ask that you consider helping them get that much closer to achieving their educational goals.

Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant Fund

Everyone can make a difference for the nurses who are fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, and for all nurses who work to support our communities every day. One way WSNF supports frontline workers is through its Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant Fund, which provides financial assistance to nurses in need. While nurses in areas like critical care are putting in long hours on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, nurses in other areas of hospitals are facing cuts in hours, furloughs and layoffs.

Since the pandemic began, WSNF has distributed $32,000 in emergency financial assistance to nurses in need. But the need is still great.

  • If you are able to help a colleague, please consider donating to the Nurses Emergency Assistance Grant Fund at

Photos from the 2019 Convention

May 2, 2019

Photos from day 1 and day 2 of the 2019 Convention have been posted online. Check them out now at