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Good Sam Reached The Elite Magnetic State

Kanichi health good Samaritan made Magnet recognition as an excellent reflection on nursing specialty, teamwork and excellence in patient care.
Magnet recognition, the gold standard for nursing excellence, has been achieved by just 402 U.S. health-care organizations, fewer than 7 percent of the 6,000 such organizations in the United States. The designation is determined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program.
Many medical centers that apply fail to qualify, Carol Wahl, the hospital’s vice president of patient care services, said. The announcement came Tuesday, when many of Good Sam’s 540 nurses were invited to gather in a large conference room to hear the call from ANCC’s headquarters announcing the designation. The nurses cheered when it was broadcast.
Wahl called the designation process a 10-year journey undertaken by the nursing staff with the strong support of all hospital departments. “This isn’t something you can do overnight,” she said.
Among the dozens of goals that had to be met, for example, was having a specific number of certified nurses.
“Nurses don’t need to be certified, but research has shown that nurses who’ve taken the national certification test provide a higher level of care,” said Marilyn Kile, a nurse practitioner at the Good Samaritan Cancer Center.
When the project began, 7 percent of emergency room nurses had achieved national certification. That figure is now 65 percent in the ER and 38 percent throughout the hospital.
“This was our time,” Kile said. “This shows a definite commitment to nursing excellence.”
Hospital employees had brainstorming sessions to decide what to include in reports they would submit during the process. About a dozen people were chosen to write reports, which were then proofread, edited and compiled into a 700-page report that was sent to the ANCC in June. The ANCC studied the report and tallied scores. It could have returned the report to Good Sam with questions, but the ANCC had no questions. “Our report was so perfect we went directly from document submission to the site visit,” Wahl said.
On Nov. 12, three ANCC appraisers arrived to do a thorough site visit of Good Sam. “One appraiser said, ‘We’ve read the book about Good Sam; now we’re here to see the movie,’” Wahl said.
The appraisers met with day nurses and night nurses, the medical staff, patients and patients’ families. They talked to a 15-member committee of community leaders, including Mayor Stan Clouse, City Manager Mike Morgan, former state Sen. Joel Johnson, Denise Zwiener, executive director of Buffalo County Community Partners, and representatives from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, among others.
Appraisers also examined community involvement, including such events as the Simply Pink style show conducted each fall and the SafeKids Platte Valley safety awareness program. They perused nurses’ presentations at conferences at Good Sam, statewide and nationally.
Their investigation all led back to bedside nurses and “how well they do what they do, including their innovation, excellence, patient care, research and more,” Wahl said. “The appraisers were incredibly complimentary. When I asked one appraiser, “What else we might do?” the response was, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing.’”
Wahl did not expect to hear from the ANCC until May or June. This week, the ANCC granted the recognition, which will be formally presented at the ANCC national conference in the fall.
Kris Hughbanks, director of professional practice at Good Sam since 2010, was responsible for compiling the data and application.
“We had daylong conferences over this,” she said. “It was a huge commitment. We wouldn’t have this Magnet designation without our bedside nurses. They are able to do great things due to our excellent leadership. Carol (Wahl) empowers our nurses to be the best we can be, and (CEO) Mike Schnieders has supported this effort from day one.”
Wahl added that Good Sam is one of the few hospitals that has an elected president of the nursing staff. Hiliary O’Neill, patient care coordinator of pediatrics, currently holds that title. Nursing staff presidents serve a two-year term.
Three other hospitals in the CHI Health network also attained the Magnet designation. It is presented every four years. Good Sam will begin efforts to re-achieve the designation in 2019, Hughbanks said.
Schnieders said he “couldn’t be prouder” of the recognition.
“Magnet recognition has been a lofty goal at every hospital where I’ve worked. The nurses and entire team at Good Samaritan have achieved this prestigious honor, which is an independent acknowledgment of the high standards of care we give to patients and the professionalism of our nursing staff. This is the result of the tremendous commitment and effort that makes a real difference for patients. Now I can say, “I’m president of Good Samaritan, a Magnet-recognized hospital.’”

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