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‘Excellent and we know it’
by Garrett Valenzuela
Aug 28, 2012 | 4633 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne
Renown Regional Medical Center CEO Jim Miller recognizes his nursing staff Tuesday.
Tribune/John Byrne Renown Regional Medical Center CEO Jim Miller recognizes his nursing staff Tuesday.
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Tribune/John Byrne
Nurses and administrators of Renown Regional Medical Center gather to celebrate their Pathway to Excellence designation Tuesday in Reno. Renown is the only hospital in Nevada with this honor.
Tribune/John Byrne Nurses and administrators of Renown Regional Medical Center gather to celebrate their Pathway to Excellence designation Tuesday in Reno. Renown is the only hospital in Nevada with this honor.
slideshow
RENO — It began as a harmless promise, a challenge to his nursing staff at Renown Regional Medical Center to boost employee engagement survey participation. And when the numbers climbed high enough, Chief Nursing Officer Jeff Stout found himself dyed purple, sporting gold hair and fingernails and rapping to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby,” while ending a promotional video for the hospital, singing “we’re excellent and we know it.”

Renown Regional and South Meadows medical centers celebrated their Pathway to Excellence designation this week, an award that has been given to just 87 of 5,000 hospitals nationwide, making them the only Nevada hospitals with such distinction.

“When we received that phone call on that Friday at 7 in the morning, there was angst, and there is always angst when you worked so hard on such a long project,” Stout said. “When we heard the number behind it we were ecstatic. There were people jumping up and down in the office and fist pumping because, well, it is a big deal.”

The number Stout referred to is 89 percent, the amount of positive feedback the Renown nursing staff reported when surveyed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC requires a minimum 75 percent positive rating on its surveys and a minimum 51 percent of the nursing staff must complete it. Renown saw 774 of its more than 1,000 nurses complete the survey.

“The thing about our staff is 89 percent is above and over the top, but I think what my team would say is we have another 11 percent of opportunity out there and we need to keep trying to improve,” Stout said.

Renown’s nurses were challenged to meet the 12 standards of the AACN’s Pathway to Excellence, including:

•Nurses control the practice of nursing

•The work environment is safe and healthy

•Systems are in place to address patient care and practice concerns

•Orientation prepares new nurses

•The Chief Nursing Officer is qualified and participates in all levels

•Professional development is provided and utilized

•Competitive wages/salaries are in place

•Nurses are recognized for achievements

•A balanced lifestyle is encouraged

•Collaborative interdisciplinary relationships are valued and supported

•Nurse Managers are competent and accountable

•A quality program and evidenced-based practices are utilized

Rachel Likes, chair of the Pathway to Excellence committee at Renown, has been a nurse for 24 years. Upon taking her position on the committee, Likes began targeting different departments for recruitment to help spread the word about ways the hospital met each of the standards.

“It was a matter of helping every nurse and all other departments to understand what those standards were and how we, as a medical center, met every one of those standards,” Likes said.

Once Renown had turned in its 500-page written account of its qualification, the hospital then opened the ANCC survey process. The Pathway to Excellence committee was tasked to motivate every nurse to participate by any means possible.

“Some of the nurses came in on our days off and took shifts for the scheduled nurses so they could go complete the survey,” Likes said. “We had huge involvement from the administration and obviously we were very committed because we got our designation.”

Angela Waltner, a member of the Pathway to Excellence committee, said documenting the 500-page report may have been the initial part of the process, but it was not necessarily the most important.

“Come time for the survey, no matter how good our documentation was, if people weren’t on board or no one knew what was going on then it would not have mattered anyway,” she said.

With the Pathway to Excellence securely under its belt, Waltner said the nursing staff will receive the recognition it deserves. She said because the award is tailored to the nurses, it reflects “our positive attitude, satisfaction and what we do every day.”

“There is a lot of research out there saying positive nursing decreases length of stay and improves patient satisfaction,” she said. “This designation is saying that our staff is engaged enough to get the survey and get positive feedback, and we hope they pick up on the good energy from that and decrease their length of stay.”

Renown is required to renew their Pathway to Excellence certification every two years. They must prove, once again, their standards of conduct continually meet the criteria expressed by the ANCC.

“The great thing about this credential is it says Pathway to Excellence — the journey never ends. It’s the recognition of the hard work and dedication, but the journey continues,” Stout said. “We will celebrate our successes. We will take time to enjoy it but we will continue to do the best we can.”
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