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Washington Hospital Nurses Honored for Achievements

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.