In recognition of excellence in nursing practice, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, N.Y., was awarded the Pathway to Excellence designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center on Feb. 14. Mercy is the only hospital in the region, and one of only two in New York state, to receive the designation.
“During our journey we formed a successful clinical ladder program, adopted a strong shared governance model where we have seen a new level of staff engagement and excitement and continue to celebrate our nursing accomplishments,” said Renee Mauriello, RN, MSN, CNO and vice president of patient care services. “Intended for smaller facilities like ours, the designation also can serve as a bridge to Magnet.”
A new organizational credential, the ANCC program includes 12 practice standards that define and measure the essential elements of an optimal nursing practice environment and qualities critical to high-quality nursing practice, professional development and job satisfaction. For an organization to earn the distinction, it must undergo a review process that documents quality initiatives resulting in a positive work environment as defined by nurses and supported by research. After two years of preparing for and implementing the standards, RNs at Mercy completed and submitted a 1,200-page document to the ANCC.
Using evidence-based practice and investigating the latest research, RNs in acute rehab developed a safety risk protocol for patients with right-sided cerebral vascular accidents. “Using safety measures, such as hourly rounding, mattress alarms, different colored socks and visual alerts on the patients doors and wrist bands, weve achieved a steady decrease in our falls in rehab, from a rate of 9 in January 2011 to 3.2 in December 2011,” said Kathleen McCaffrey, RN, MSN, NE-BC, senior director of nursing. In February, nurses from the unit presented their results at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans.
RNs adopted a nurse-driven protocol for removing indwelling urinary catheters, resulting in a decrease in catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Now a hospitalwide program, nurses use bladder scanners to support this protocol and independently make the decision to remove or keep in the catheter. “Nurses no longer need a physicians order to remove the catheter because they are making decisions based on sound physical assessments,” said Michele Kunz, RN-BC, MSN, ANP, director of nursing education and research. The facility purchased additional scanners to implement the program, and UTI rates have fallen below the national benchmark.
With the goal of decreasing central line-associated bloodstream infections, the ICU staff created a central line-associated bacteremia bundle of care, which includes the introduction of a chlorhexidine bath protocol, additional dressings specific to the jugular site and a standardized cart brought to the bedside. “Weve decreased our CLABIs by 50%, with no incidences in 2011 and none in 2012 to date,” said Margaret Glier, RN, BSN, director of critical care and oncology.
Mercy has established a hotline number staff, patients and families may use to acknowledge excellence in nursing practice. Unit-based “walls of fame” honor nurses for certifications and other professional accomplishments, and RNs are recognized in peer-nominated programs. Mercy has seen a drop in the RN vacancy rate, which now is less than 3%, and a drop in its turnover rate, which went from 25% to 5%, said Beth Vlahavas, RN, MSN, director of the ED and behavioral health.
Mauriello and staff are presenting a “Journey to Pathway Success” poster at the ANCC Pathway to Excellence national conference in May in Arlington, Va.