In 2004, after a long career in nursing and management, Linda Tieman was named executive director of the newly-formed Washington Center for Nursing, a nonprofit created by state nursing leaders in the face of a looming shortage of nurses. WCN was to focus on nursing resources, education and workforce issues in Washington state.
The new center’s charge was expansive. It included educating the public, evaluating nursing education, building a database about the nursing workforce, facilitating partnerships to promote diversity, enhancing nursing career mobility and leadership development, and promoting strategies to enhance patient safety and quality patient care.
Tieman took charge and for the next 11 years tirelessly advocated for Washington’s nursing workforce and built a state nursing center that is a leader in the nation. Her substantial efforts set an example of what it means to engage nurses’ expertise, influence and perspective towards providing increased access to quality nursing care for all Washingtonians.
Tieman received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati in 1969 and went on to receive her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Florida in 1973. Tieman has held several direct-care and executive roles, including serving as Director of Nursing at Scripps Health in La Jolla, California, and Vice President for Patient Care at Mt. Carmel in Columbus, Ohio. In 1991, Tieman began her long career in Washington state working for Group Health Cooperative, where she served multiple counties throughout the state as a senior district administrator until accepting the new position as executive director for the Washington Center for Nursing.
Under Tieman’s leadership, WCN promoted nursing career mobility and nursing leadership development through statewide workshops with acclaimed facilitators. These included the “Leadership at the Point of Care” workshops throughout the state, designed specifically for staff and charge nurses, consistent with Tieman’s conviction that leadership is not reserved just for management, but that all nurses are leaders.
Tieman is a fierce promoter of the image of nursing. She spoke to thousands of students, community members and legislators about the rigorous qualifications for nursing and the vital role that nurses play in the health care system. Tieman also co-led the Washington Nursing Action Coalition, which facilitated important relationships with key stakeholders in the state, as well as nationally, to enhance nursing education and practice.
Under her tenure, WCN became a repository of nursing workforce data and resources. Thousands of K‑12 students and their families learned more about careers in nursing through WCN’s participation in career fairs and other community events. WCN raised more than a $1 million for nursing scholarships through its partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Promise of Nursing for Washington Gala and acquired two Academic Progression in Nursing grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the IOM’s “Future of Nursing” recommendations of having a more highly prepared, diverse nursing workforce that is poised to lead health care.
Tieman also served as a board member for Nurse.com, a “go-to” career resource for RNs and served as a co-lead for the Washington Nursing Action Coalition.
Tieman is a huge proponent of nurses serving on boards in their communities and has done so herself. Tieman has also been actively involved in her community, having served as chair of the Pierce County American Red Cross board, the Pierce County Prevention Partnership, and is currently on the board of the Pierce County Library Foundation. She also served as the president of the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.
Tieman received American Red Cross Clara Barton Meritorious Volunteer Award in 1996, the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives Transformational Pioneer Award in 2013, and the WSNA Community Partner Recognition Award in 2015, the Alumni Legacy Award from the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing in 2015 and the American College of Healthcare Executives Senior Leadership Award in 2016.
While Tieman retired from WCN in 2015, she continues to be an active proponent of nurses and the nursing workforce and their role to positively impact and transform community health outcomes across Washington and the country. Her contribution to nursing through leadership of the Washington Center for Nursing will continue to advance nursing and health care in Washington state for generations.