Linda Burbank

Registered Nurse
Washington State Nurses Association, Local 5901
Tacoma, WA

Linda BurbankWhat do the law and nursing have in common? For Linda Burbank, everything. Burbank is a registered nurse and a lawyer. “Being a nurse and an attorney makes me stronger in both areas,” says Burbank, who works in the Ambulatory Care Center at St. Joseph Medical Center. “I love to advocate for others in the medical and legal arenas.” Burbank had always wanted to be an attorney, but life events led her to nursing. She never gave up on her love of the law and eventually went to law school. Nursing found a place in Burbank’s heart too, and so she immersed herself in both worlds. “It just works out. I love nursing. Touching lives from a nursing perspective creates a certain kind of humanity so I hold on to that.”

Burbank has her own law practice, which allows her to focus on guardianship and elder law—areas that are particularly useful for the diverse patient population she cares for. Burbank is a resource and advocate for patients’ families, helping them understand the protections available, especially when it comes making healthcare decisions. Burbank is not only an advocate for her patients, she advocates for her fellow nurses as well. “When I started working, I had no idea about the union,” she admits. “I heard grumblings about an invisible union, but if there was a problem or I had a grievance, I didn’t know where to turn.” But once she took the time to learn what her union was doing, she says, “I began to see how hard the union was working for members, that’s when I got more involved.”

Burbank is the co-chair of her local unit as well as a grievance officer, and she is committed to educating others about the union. “It’s my mission to make sure people didn’t say anything about an invisible union," she says." The union is about fairness, protection, retention, recruitment and having a voice for the nurses.”