Portrait of Debbie Brinker
Debbie Brinker

Debbie Brinker, an assistant dean and assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing, will be inducted into the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame this spring. 

Inductees are chosen for their significant accomplishments and contributions to the nursing profession. Brinker is one of six people who’ll be honored in a ceremony on March 22 in Seattle, where she’ll become the seventh member of the WSU College of Nursing faculty to earn a place in the WSNA Hall of Fame.

“Debbie’s contributions to nursing go beyond the state of Washington, having served in the military and served as president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses,” said Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel. “For the College of Nursing, Debbie has been a great leader in ensuring our students are involved and knowledgeable about government affairs involving health, and in representing the College in professional organizations in the state. I could not be happier that Debbie is being recognized with this well-deserved honor.”

Brinker has held leadership positions in nursing organizations statewide, driving innovation along the way. She is president of the Washington Center for Nursing, whose mission is to build a diverse, highly qualified nursing workforce; faculty advisor for the Nursing Students of Washington State; a member of the Leadership Washington Nursing Action Coalition; and on the steering committee of Action Now! The Initiative to Solve State Nursing Education Challenges.

Among her many honors: Brinker received the WSNA Nurse Educator Award in 2013, and last year was the first College of Nursing faculty member to receive the WSU President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Instructors and Clinical Faculty. In announcing the award, the University said, “Her teaching philosophy of ‘engage and transform’ is manifested in her research publications, positive student evaluations and affirming feedback from clinical site partners.” She also has been honored by the WSU College of Nursing with both a Faculty Service Award and Undergraduate Faculty Award; by Sigma Theta Tau International Delta Chi Chapter with a Leadership Award; and by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses with a Lifetime Membership Award.

Brinker joined the WSU College of Nursing in 2002, where her teaching experience includes professional development and leadership education, and pediatrics. Most of her nursing career was spent in pediatric care as well. She has served local and global communities by working as a camp nurse at YMCA Camp Reed, and on medical mission trips to Ethiopia.

Debbie Brinker once said that when she’s done learning, she’s done with nursing. Yet even if that were to happen, her commitment to students and to the nursing profession will have ripple effects on health care in Washington for decades to come.

Story by Addy Hatch