Day in and day out, 24 hours a day, Washington Hospital’s nurses
are the caregivers patients see most frequently and the ones providing
continuing care to help patients recover and heal.
Recognizing this, on May 9 Washington Hospital is celebrating National
Nurses Week with special events for the hospital’s more than 750
nurses. Washington Hospital CEO Nancy Farber and Associate Administrator
and Chief Nursing Officer Stephanie Williams, along with other hospital
officials, will host a series of teas to honor the nurses during their shifts.
“Washington Hospital is very proud of its nurses and what they accomplish
in patient care and patient safety,” Williams said.
The achievements of nurses who have received advanced degrees or certifications
during the past year will be highlighted with posters placed on their
nursing floors. The posters will show a photograph of the nurse and list
the nurse’s achievements during the past year.
Williams added that most Washington Hospital nurses have bachelor degrees
in nursing and have specialized certifications in their field of study.
Many also have master’s degrees and some hold PhD degrees.
Most of the hospital’s nurses are affiliated with national professional
nursing organizations and participate in continuing education programs
to keep current with developments in nursing and medicine. Washington
Hospital supports the nurses in their continuing education efforts by
underwriting some of their out-of-pocket expenses, Williams said, adding
that the hospital’s long-term goal is for 80 percent of the nursing
staff to have Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.
The theme of this year’s celebration —
“Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” — echoes the dedication of Washington Hospital’s nurses to
providing the highest level of care for their patients. This dedication
is in keeping with the hospital’s Patient First Ethic where all
decisions made and actions taken are based on what’s in the best
interest of the patient.
“The celebration emphasizes the importance of ethics in nursing and
acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care Washington Hospital
nurses display daily,” Williams said. She noted that this dedication
to excellence has been recognized since 2011 by the designation of Magnet®
Status by the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center.
Magnet® Status is the highest level of recognition a hospital can achieve
for nursing excellence. It means the hospital provides a superior level
of health care for patients, displays innovating practices and retains
nurses who perform excellent work as part of their team, Williams explained.
“Our nurses place the highest priority on patient safety,”
she said. “The nursing staff has developed effective protocols to
reduce incidents of central line infections, pressure ulcers and sepsis
mortality, to eliminate medication errors, and to reduce catheter associated
urinary tract infections.”
Williams added that the nursing staff emphasizes working with patients,
their families and caregivers to improve communication, to engage patients
in their own care and to improve overall patient safety — especially
in reducing falls among the elderly.
A particular focus has been in the Critical Care Unit to ensure those patients
receive correct nutrition as soon as possible to improve long-term recovery.
Research has shown that starting to feed critical care patients within
the first 24 to 48 hours and meeting recommended nutritional goals within
the first week contributes to a faster recovery with fewer complications.
Washington Hospital nurses have increased the number of patients meeting
caloric goals within the first week from 30 percent to 97 percent, Williams said.
A focus for the coming year is to work with other hospital staff to develop
a Palliative Care Program as well as continuing the nursing staff’s
emphasis on critical care and family-centered care programs.
While National Nurses Week puts a particular spotlight on the contributions
of nurses, Williams said, Washington Hospital invites all members of the
community to recognize and honor nurses as leaders throughout the year
in meeting the community’s health care needs.