42 Years of Work and Support for Virginia Mason

In 1969, Kathy Salmen, RN, was fresh out of the University of Nebraska School of Nursing. She moved west with some friends and planned to spend a year or two in Seattle and see what developed. When she secured a staff nursing position at Virginia Mason, Kathy forged a bond with our patients and our organization that led her to make Seattle her home for four decades and counting — and inspired her to become a steadfast donor.

What’s the first thing that stood out to her about Virginia Mason? Our collaborative and patient-centered culture.

“When I first started there were no computers — everything was on paper — but the way we cared for patients was largely the same,” Kathy says. “We used a collaborative approach long before it was called ‘Team Medicine.’ And we’ve always made the patient the center of every care decision.”

This commitment to patient-centered care paired with strong, ongoing support from our nursing leadership first inspired Kathy to give back to Virginia Mason in the 1980s. As she moved into nursing management and recruiting, she also worked with and began to donate to Bailey-Boushay House (BBH).

“Nursing is a crucial part of patient care, and I gave small gifts every year to support that,” Kathy says. “When I learned about the incredible and special work at BBH, I wanted to give to them too.”

Kathy retired in 2011, but she still gives to our organization. She believes you don’t have to make a huge donation to make a difference; gifts of $50 or $100 can add up to make an impact. And she recently decided to name Virginia Mason as a beneficiary in her estate.

“My siblings are around the same age as me and I don’t have children, so I thought I could share some of my resources by naming two organizations that greatly impacted my life as beneficiaries: The University of Nebraska’s nursing program and Virginia Mason,” she says. “I know Virginia Mason will use this gift to support nursing, further the profession and give our patients great care. I’m very proud to have spent 42 years of my career at Virginia Mason.”

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