Dian Palmer always wanted to be a nurse when she was young, but she did not consider it a reality until her high school guidance counselor inspired her to pursue her dreams.
Palmer was the first person in her family to graduate from college. “I’m the oldest of eight children, and I wanted a career where I could make a living for my family and also give back to the community,” said Palmer. She began her career in a nursing home, and then went on to work for a hospital and a sexual assault treatment center.
Palmer has been a nurse for 25 years, and a member of SEIU for 17 years. “Before I joined SEIU, I was disgusted by the numerous abuses suffered as healthcare providers. We were forced to work for seven days in a row, required to do double-shifts, and had no voice in the workplace. I organized my workplace not for better wages, but because as a way to counter the abuses. Before SEIU, I thought we just had to deal with the hand we were dealt, joining a union gave us a voice and a platform to stand up for ourselves.”
Palmer is actively involved in improving working conditions and patient care. Currently, she is President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin and an Executive Board Member of SEIU. She is a member of the Milwaukee Chapter Black Nurses Association, and a Governor’s Appointee to the State of Wisconsin Minimum Wage Task Force. In addition, she serves as a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Board, the UWHCA Public Authority Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Citizen Action Board of Directors.
Palmer holds a B.S. in Nursing from Carroll College/Columbia School of Nursing and is a State of Wisconsin Public Health Nurse specializing in Chronic Diseases in Minority Populations. She has three sons and resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.