The Executive Director is the chief spokesperson for the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California (NA of CA) and represents the NA of CA members with the community, media, and before all organizations, boards, commissions, departments, and federal, state, and local government bodies with which the NA of CA has relationships and at meetings and conferences in which the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California participates.
Ingela Dahlgren, RN, Executive Director, SEIU Nurse Alliance of California
Ingela was born and raised in Sweden where she studied nursing at the University of Gothenburg. In 1978 she moved with her husband to California and is now a proud U.S. citizen. Over the years, as her lifelong motivation to be a nurse has shifted and evolved, Ingela has transitioned from being an O.R. nurse in Sweden to helping found Local 121RN on April 1, 2002, to flying with the SEIU Flight Team (which she describes as an amazing journey and learning experience), to finally being elected Executive Director of Nurse Alliance of California in February 2009. In her own words: “I realized that nurses can make changes if we unite around a common issue like improving patient care, and that we can make the difference. I have decided to work on improving patient care and improving the daily working lives of our brothers and sisters working in healthcare.”
Ingela’s family is her backbone and source of strength and support, and for them nursing is a family business. After pursuing a passion for music for several years, her husband, as Ingela puts it, was also “bit by the nursing bug,” and is now an RN and CCRN. Their son is presently in nursing school, expecting to graduate in a year. Their daughter decided that the family had met their quota for nurses and is currently working on her master’s degree in music.
Ingela would like to share a few of the recent successes of SEIU Nurse Alliance of California. Nurse Alliance was instrumental in helping Cal/OSHA push through their higher standard for airborne transmittable diseases; it is now considered the gold standard for the rest of the nation. Nurse Alliance then set its goal on making workplaces safer for both patients and staff. We worked hard to help pass the Safe Patient Handling legislation and are now at the table assisting Cal/OSHA in write the policy for implementation. SEIU nurses across California are sitting down with management to figure out the best way to implement the new law. Another step in the right direction, and for the first time in history, NA of CA has its own office. Ingela stresses, “We are an organization by nurses, for nurses, of nurses. We are a professional organization demanding to be treated as such.”
Click here to learn more about Ingela Dahlgren.
Katherine Hughes, RN, Liaison for SEIU Nurse Alliance of California
Kathy has been a critical care and trauma nurse for over 15 years. After being a member leader for SEIU Local 121RN for several years, she became full time staff for the Local in 2009 as the Liaison for SEIU Nurse Alliance of California. For the past four years, SEIU Nurse Alliance of California has been very successful in promoting the nursing profession and patient safety, either through legislation or workers’ rights campaigns and education.
She will tell you that she is both honored and humbled to be representing not only her Local but the 35,000 Registered Nurses here in California. Being a nurse, as part of the healthcare team, and a patient advocate is the best job in the world.
The Steering Committee consists of designated RN member leaders from each California Local that represents Registered Nurses. There are two elected co-chairs of this committee, one from the private sector and one from the public sector. This leadership works to build and strengthen the RN voice and presence through education, mentoring, websites, legislative campaigns, and organizing new nurses.