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May 4, 2010 > Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow

Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow

Washington Hospital Honors Its Nurses During National Nurses Week

Every day Washington Hospital's nurses make a difference. They make a difference in the lives of patients and patients' family members. They also make a difference in the community, across the country and even internationally.

During National Nurses Week, recognized each year May 6-12, Washington Hospital highlights many the contributions and achievements of its nursing staff.

Compassionate patient care

Washington Hospital recognizes that at the heart of nursing is compassionate patient care.

In 2005, Washington Hospital was recommended to be a partner in the DAISY Foundation by a former patient, Mr. Fred Lipman and his wife, after they were particularly impressed with the nursing care delivered on the 6 West nursing unit.
The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation was founded by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) to fund research and raise awareness of the disease.

Another aspect of the foundation is to recognize the compassionate care Mr. Barnes received from his nurses during his hospital stay. As a result, the foundation formed The DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses to recognize the work nurses do every day all over the country.

Since the inception of the award at Washington Hospital, nursing professionals from all different specializations of nursing care have been recognized.

"We are honored to be nominated as a DAISY Award hospital," according to Washington Hospital Nursing Director Alice Santos, R.N. "We have many fine dedicated nurses who have stayed at Washington Hospital to deliver the mission and vision to our community. We believe in what we do as is reflected in our special certifications that our nurses obtain and in the designations that we have obtained."

Nursing excellence, Santos pointed out, has been instrumental in Washington

Hospital receiving several certifications and accommodations including:
* The Stroke Program becoming a designated Primary Stroke Center
* Washington Women's Center receiving a three-year full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC)
* The Community Cancer Program recently receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer (CoC)

"It takes a village to make these programs come together, so we work well with the interdisciplinary members of the health care team," Santos said.

Education and quality at home and abroad

As part of its commitment to quality care, Washington Hospital continuously monitors its performance in each of the Core Performance Measures established by the Joint Commission, the nation's leading hospital accreditation organization. Each Core Performance Measure tracks a combination of evidenced-based procedures that have been shown to improve the quality of care for various categories of patients.

In addition to tracking compliance with the Joint Commission's Core Performance Measures, Washington Hospital has been actively involved in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) 100,000 Lives and 5 Million Lives Campaigns, which focus on proven, evidence-based best practices.

This past December, Harold Smith, R.N., Nurse Manager of 3 West and 3 South, served as a presenter at the IHI's conference in Orlando, Fla., which hosted medical personnel from various backgrounds and allowed health care organizations to present their quality initiative data.

Smith's presentation centered on Washington Hospital's success rate in reducing patient falls, which according to Santos, is among the "nursing quality indicators," identified as factors that capture outcomes most affected by nursing care.

"Other organizations had a real interest in what we have done at Washington Hospital to reduce patient falls," Smith said of his talk.

Success stories

Throughout its four years of participation in IHI quality and safety efforts, Washington Hospital has partnered with the Beacon Collaborative, a leading patient safety effort focused on improving the quality of hospital care by supporting and accelerating evidence-based campaigns and innovative practices through a data driven peer-to-peer learning network among San Francisco Bay Area hospitals.

As a participant in the Beacon Collaborative, Washington has implemented the twelve campaign initiatives, many made up of "bundles of care," which represent groups of steps that, when included in a patient's treatment, have been proven to significantly improve the outcome.

Recently, a group of nurses from Washington's 3 West nursing unit, led by Tess Garcia, R.N., presented at a Beacon Collaborative conference to report on the unit's success in reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. Since implementing new procedures, Washington Hospital's hospital-acquired pressure ulcer rate significantly decreased from an average of 6.07 percent to 0.62 percent a year later.

The latest Beacon Collaborative pilot program being implemented focuses on reducing the incidence of Clostridium difficile, often called C. difficile or "C. diff," a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon that most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.

"We have had quite a few quality initiatives that have had great success," Garcia pointed out. "During the first day of staff education on C. diff, it was apparent how receptive and excited the staff nurses were to learn more about our latest initiative. I am confident that this project will be another success story for our hospital, our patients and the nurses involved in the project."

Honoring those who care for the community

In honor of their commitment to patient care, quality and community education at home and abroad, Washington Hospital proudly recognizes its nursing professional whose work helps ensure a healthier tomorrow for our community.

To find out about opportunities in nursing, visit and click on Careers. For more information about the nursing profession, visit the American Nurses Association at

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