RWJUH’s Somerset nurses take top honors again

RWJUH Somerset Orthopedic Nurse Meaghan Barber-Badger, RN, BSN, tends to patient Mark Runyon of Somerville.

The third consecutive Magnet designation signifies quality patient care.

Nurses have been called the backbone of health care. At Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, they not only provide vital bedside care, but also promote community health, improve patient care, improve safety, support diversity and inclusion, educate staff, provide leadership and more.

Through these efforts, RWJUH Somerset has earned Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the third time in a row. The designation is the nation’s most prestigious nursing honor, one that only 9 percent of hospitals nationwide have earned.

“The Magnet principles are embedded in our culture and are something our nurses truly embody every day,” says Michael Valendo, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CEN, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing, RWJUH Somerset. The principles include exemplary professional practice, transformational leadership, shared decision-making and an organizational structure that empowers nurses.

“These processes enable us to achieve exceptional patient outcomes, which are important indicators of quality nursing care,” says Valendo. Key outcomes reported by Magnet Hospitals include higher patient safety scores, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stays.

The Leadership Team and Nursing Leadership Team at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset celebrates achieving the Magnet Designation for Excellence in Nursing. Seated left to right, Salvatore Moffa, MD, chief medical officer; Tony Cava, President and CEO; Jamie Perry, assistant vice president of nursing; Michael Valendo, chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing; Eileen Allen, Magnet Program Coordinator; and Kathy Easter, Assistant Vice President, Nursing Excellence.

Health promotion

RWJUH Somerset’s 650 nurses have achieved Magnet status even in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, continuing to play various roles across the hospital. Roles include hospital, surgical and emergency care; behavioral health; outpatient services; care management; education; clinical research; infection prevention; Quality improvement; patient experience; referral services; information technology services; community outreach; and administration.

“From our perspective, nursing is as much about promoting health and wellness as it is about managing disease,” says Jamie Perry, MSN, RN, NE-BC, assistant vice president of nursing, RWJUH Somerset.

The ANCC gave high marks for the hospital’s use of commercial resource groups (BRGs) such as the Asian Society for Impact and Advocacy Network (ASIAN), Advancing Women through Advocacy, Recognition and Empowerment (AWARE) , the Black Professionals Network (BPN) and Service and Advocacy for Latinos United for Development (SALUD). These groups not only support employees, promote career development and contribute to cultural sensitivity, but can also advance public health goals.

In one example, SALUD helped the hospital reach Latin American communities particularly affected by COVID-19. “In cooperation with our Community Health and Diversity and Inclusion teams, SALUD BRG members participated in mask and hand sanitizer distribution activities, and did community education on hygiene, transmission and social distancing,” says Valendo. “They distributed thousands of masks and interacted with thousands of people, and we saw a significant drop in hospitalizations among this population.”

“It is a remarkable achievement for our nurses to be recognized as the best in their profession, not just once, but three times in a row,” said Tony Cava, President and CEO, RWJUH Somerset. “We are so proud of our entire nursing team for their dedication to our patients and their commitment to providing the highest quality care. »

How a Magnetic Hospital Benefits Patients

Magnet recognition from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), Somerset for Excellence in Nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) reflects better patient outcomes. Among them:

  • Exemplary care: Magnet hospitals score well on quality indicators such as catheter and tubing-associated infections, hospital-acquired pressure injuries, and patient falls. “Quality care reduces complications, hospital stays and readmissions,” says Michael Valendo, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing.
  • Efficient service: RWJUH Somerset had low rates of patients leaving the emergency department (ED) without care thanks to multidisciplinary collaboration between doctors, nurses, ED, and radiology and inpatient units to maintain high patient flow and low waiting times.
  • Innovative practices: RWJUH Somerset nurses are empowered to provide ideas, solutions and leadership to improve care. For example, placing or removing an ‘M’ on a chart to indicate whether people understand a new medicine has helped ensure that patients at RWJUH Somerset know what medicines they are taking, why they are taking them and what side effects to watch out for.
  • Stable workforce: The Magnet designation helps hospitals attract and retain nurses. “Even during COVID, we were able to attract talent,” says Valendo.

Find out more about Robert Wood Johnson Somerset University Hospital, including employment opportunities for nurses.

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