By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Applause and cheers emanated from a room full of leaders, administrators and nurses last week at Bristol Hospital in celebration of a national recognition.
They all gathered together last Tuesday for conference phone call from RN Donna Havens, who announced that Bristol Hospital has achieved Magnet recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Magnet serves as the highest recognition an organization can receive for nursing care as established by the ANCC, a division of the American Nurses Association. It offers recognition to health care organizations that offer the best in nursing care and uphold the tradition of professional nursing practice.
Bristol Hospital also is invited to the ANCC National Magnet Conference that will take place this October in Atlanta.
“This is an amazing accomplishment and it’s a testament to your commitment to nursing excellence,” said Havens, who is the chair of the Commission for the Magnet Recognition Program.
Sheila Kempf, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, led the Magnet journey after the decision of the Bristol Hospital Board of Directors and its Quality Committee to pursuee the designation about several years ago.
The early phase of the process included a gap assessment and organizational cultural alignment with the Magnet organizational standards, such as improving quality outcomes and the patient experience, reinforcing a positive environment with effective collaboration, recognition of the values of nurses, driving recruitment and retention of staff and attracting high quality physicians.
An 800-plus page document submitted to the ANCC showed that the hospital met the organization’s high standards. ANCC Magnet appraisers then completed a three-day site visit early this spring, and the last step included a review by a panel of Magnet commissioners before a decision was made.
The Magnet status designation is granted for four years, and Bristol Hospital must maintain the criteria of the recognition, which includes high-quality care, strong nursing leadership and high levels of job satisfaction.
Calling it amazing journey, Kempf thanked not only the support of hospital leaders and the Board of Directors, but also the Bristol Hospital Nursing Department’s shared governance model, which includes the Nursing Executive Council, the Professional Practice Council and the Unit-Based Practice Councils.
Kempf, who also thanked nursing staff, said the recognition also would not have happened without the support of other hospital departments.
“Although this journey focuses on nursing, it’s really a hospital designation,” said Kempf. “Without the support of all the other departments, we would never have achieved this. It takes everybody to help everybody to get the patient outcomes that we have gotten.”
“You have outperformed national benchmarks,” said Director of Clinical Excellence and Professional Practice Korey Roth to all of the nursing staff. “You are everyday extraordinary.”
To date, Bristol Hospital is the only hospital in Hartford County to hold a Magnet recognition, and is only one of four Magnet hospitals in the state. Other Magnet hospitals in Connecticut include Yale-New Haven Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Medical Center, according to ANCC’s website. The Magnet Recognition Program advances several goals within healthcare organizations, such as promoting quality in a setting that supports professional practice and identifying excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients.
“This is probably the most significant announcement in the 94-year history of this hospital,” said Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital. “This would not have happened without every person in this organization pulling together as a family. This journey…really was about striving for excellence.”
“It’s a great day for Bristol,” said John Leone, president of the Bristol Hospital Board of Directors. “It’s a magnificent testimony to our hospital and to the people who work here.”
About 7 percent of hospitals in the nation have met the criteria to earn this designation.
“It’s something that we can be proud of,” said Barwis.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO