Parkview Health vies for top nursing designation

May 23rd, 2017

By Bridgett Hernandez | KPC News - The Star

Parkview Health officials are hoping to join the ranks of the 6 percent of American hospitals that have achieved what many health-care professionals consider the gold standard in nursing excellence and a powerful tool for attracting and retaining nursing talent.

Developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the Magnet Recognition Program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

The designation originated from a nursing shortage in the 1980s. The American Academy of Nursing Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals conducted a study to identify work environments that attract and retain well-qualified nurses who promote quality care.

The study found that 41 of 163 institutions possessed qualities that enabled greater capacity to attract and retain nurses, and were therefore described as “magnet” hospitals. The commonalities of these institutions were deemed as “forces of magnetism.”

Later, the American Nurses Association board of directors approved a proposal for the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services, building upon the study.

To earn Magnet status, a hospital undergoes an extensive application process that can take more than a year to complete. The hospital must be re-designated after four years to ensure compliance.

Right now, Goshen Hospital is the only hospital in northeast Indiana to hold magnet status. The hospital has held its status continuously since 2004, and is in the process of gaining its third re-designation.

“It is the most prestigious designation that any health care organization can receive,” said Julie Crossley, chief nursing officer for Goshen Health.

While Magnet status is specific to nursing, the credentialing organization looks at the overall organization excellence across the entire care team, she said. This includes consideration of quality outcomes, nursing practice environment, high patient satisfaction and high physician satisfaction in working with nurses.

Fostering a culture that promotes nurse engagement and strives to give nurses a voice in decision making is also an important quality of Magnet hospitals.

Magnet hospitals have outstanding nurse to patient ratios, Crossley said. That’s a quality that plays a major role in attracting and retaining nursing talent.

“From a nurse’s perspective, when you’re looking for a place of employment, that’s important,” she said. “You want to work in an organization in which you have the nurse to patient ratio that allows you to make a difference and deliver the care that you want for your patient.”

Last year, Parkview Health announced that it was creating more than 50 registered nursing positions to decrease its hospital’s nurse to patient ratio. That ratio is now nearing one nurse to every four patients, said Eric Clabaugh, Parkview Health spokesman.

Crossley said that Goshen Hospital’s Magnet status helps the organization attract new talent and that the environment fostered in compliance with Magnet standards has led to lower turnover rates than the national standard.

“I love to hear stories of what brought our talent to Goshen Hospital,” she said. “Time and again, I hear that they recognize Goshen Health’s Magnet status and that was part of their decision making.”

To apply for Magnet status, hospitals have to pay a fee to the American Nurses Credentialing Center based on the number of beds it has. The fee is small compared to the time hospitals invest to reach Magnet status, Crossley said.

To her, the designation is more than a gold star – it’s a symbol of a hospital’s commitment to excellence.

“It’s a journey, and it’s a commitment that an organization makes,” she said. “It’s not something that you can do overnight.”

Parkview Health applied for Magnet status for each of its hospitals, Clabaugh said. That includes Parkview Regional Medical Center, Parkview Hospital Randallia, Parkview Behavioral Health, Parkview Noble Hospital, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, Parkview Whitely Hospital, Parkview Wabash Hospital and Parkview Huntington Hospital.

This is the first time Parkview Health has applied for the designation. The “long and thoughtful application process” began about nine months ago, Clabaugh said, but Parkview Health has spent the last decade bringing its model of care up to a level that is reflective of that demanded by the Magnet Recognition Program.

“This is more than a capital or operational investment – it’s an investment of time that has been led by our chief nursing executive Judy Boerger for almost 10 years now,” he said.

In April, officials from the American Nurses Credentialing Center spent a week visiting Parkview Health hospitals and are currently in the process of making their final evaluations, Clabaugh said. The hospitals should find out if they earned Magnet Recognition in June or July.

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