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Long-time Washington Hospital Maternal Child Health Nurse Elected to Board of National Nursing Association

Yvonne Dobbenga-Rhodes, RNC, clinical nurse specialist in the Maternal Child Health Department at Washington Hospital, was recently elected to serve on the 2016-2017 Board of Directors of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS).

“This election is an honor,” said Dobbenga-Rhodes. “It will help me advance the quality of nursing care at Washington Hospital while also giving me an opportunity to make changes and improvements for advanced practice registered nurses at the national level.”

“NACNS has done a great deal to build awareness of the important role that clinical nurse specialists play in making sure patients receive high-quality care based on the best and most recent research practices,” she continued.

Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses who work in specialized areas of nursing. Their goal is to make sure nursing care is of the highest possible quality, is based on proven practices, and is focused on the needs of each individual patient. Clinical nurse specialists offer direct patient care and also lead initiatives with other nurses in order to improve care and clinical outcomes as well as to reduce costs.

As a maternal child health nurse, Dobbenga-Rhodes performs patient and staff education, consultations, and clinical research. Clinical nurse specialists have served at Washington Hospital for nearly 30 years. In addition to Maternal Child Health, they work in Critical Care, the Emergency Department and the Education Department.

Through her involvement and leadership with NACNS, Dobbenga-Rhodes contributes to the health and well-being of families and children in the local community. Her participation in NACNS has strengthened her commitment to advancing nursing practice throughout Washington Hospital, and this has helped ensure that patients receive comprehensive, safe, compassionate care at the bedside.

Washington Hospital is designated a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This is the highest level of recognition a hospital can receive for the quality of its nursing care.

The Hospital has supported Dobbenga-Rhodes, giving her opportunities to research and publish papers on amniotic fluid embolism, cardiac disease in pregnancy, congenital cardiac heart disease in newborns, and thrombophilia in pregnancy. Through these publications, she has shared her knowledge and experience with other nurses at Washington Hospital.

“At our Hospital, we have a very dedicated group of professional registered nurses, physicians and ancillary staff members who are committed to supporting families through their life-changing, childbearing events, as well as when their children require hospitalization,” she observed.

“I consider it a privilege to work with such an amazing group of intelligent and compassionate individuals. Washington Hospital’s commitment to the community is unparalleled, and we are always seeking to find new methods to support the health care needs of women, infants and children.”

As an NACNS board member, Dobbenga-Rhodes is also a liaison to the nursing organization’s practice committee that investigates ways to reinforce the value of the advanced practice role of the clinical nurse specialist.

“I contribute to the quality of nursing care in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, and Pediatrics by providing evidence-based staff education and patient consultation. These services support positive outcomes for patients,” she explained.

A charter member of NACNS, Dobbenga-Rhodes has been in the nursing field for 33 years and has worked at Washington Hospital since 1994. She has worked in the field of maternal child health for 26 years.

In addition to being a clinical nurse specialist, she is board certified in inpatient obstetric nursing, neonatal intensive care and pediatric nursing. She is also an instructor for the neonatal resuscitation program, basic life support and intermediate fetal heart monitoring. In the past, she was on the adjunct faculty for Ohlone College and Holy Names University.

Dobbenga-Rhodes holds a Master of Science degree in Women’s Health Care from the University of Rochester School of Nursing in Rochester, New York, and her BSN from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

She is a member of the California Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the Association of Operating Room Nurses; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the National Association of Neonatal Nurses; the Society of Pediatric Nurses; and Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing.

NACNS was founded in 1995 and is the only association representing clinical nurse specialists. The organization is dedicated to advancing clinical nurse specialist practice and education and increasing public access to quality clinical nurse specialist services.

Learn more

To find out more about the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, go online to For more information about Washington Hospital, visit