Celebrating Our Nurses During National Nurses Week

An open letter from Jefferson leaders David P. McQuaid, MBA, FACHE and Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA.

Celebrating Nurses Week 2014Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was born in 1820. (She was five years old when Jefferson Hospital first opened its doors.) Each year her birthday, May 12, is the culmination of National Nurses Week, a chance to shine light on the people who deliver on our historic and sacred promise of putting patients and families first, and providing care, with caring.

At Jefferson, we respect and honor our nurses every day of the year. 24/7/365. They are on the front lines every day of the year—24/7/365—contributing in ways that make a huge difference and never go unnoticed. No one is more directly involved with our patients and their families. No one more immersed in the daily drama and stress. Their work, while routine, is often heroic.

Two thousand strong, our nurses are the largest component of our Jefferson workforce. They power our successes and drive our achievements. They are leaders whose work is recognized throughout the industry.

In October, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital once again earned the most coveted distinction in nursing, Magnet recognition. (We did it for the first time in our history in 2009.) The American Nurses Credentialing Center awards Magnet status “… for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice…”. Gaining it the first time is hard enough. Earning it the second time is even harder, but our nurses did it.

Renewing our Magnet designation is a singular achievement in its own right. This time around, though, in addition, the Credentialing Center cited Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as an Exemplar in two critical areas, Patient Satisfaction and Professional Development.

“TJUH,” it wrote, “is one of a few organizations to outperform the benchmark eight consecutive quarters for all (Press Ganey) patient satisfaction with nursing (measures), courtesy and respect, response time, patient education, and careful listening.”

Our endless pursuit of service excellence and our unwavering commitment to superior patient care have been recognized at the highest level. And it’s in large part thanks to our nurses.

Magnet hospitals attract the best nurses. And a place known for patient satisfaction generates goodwill, and more patients.

The Magnet recertification followed our designation by US News and World Report to its elite Honor Roll of the top one percent of hospitals in the nation. It’s another acknowledgement of the vital role our nurses play.

Their role in research shows on 3W, an oncology floor, where through a DAISY Foundation Grant our nurses are evaluating a walking program designed to improve symptoms of distress in their patients.

It shows in the Emergency Department where our nurses are participating in a multi-site study through the Emergency Nurses Association to reduce urinary tract infections due to catheters.

Our nursing staff on 7N, a urology service, created a GetWellNetwork video teaching patients how to care for urinary catheters at home, an innovative response to information we learned in patient satisfaction surveys.

The Falls Resource Group developed and tested a Jefferson Fall Risk scale. We are now looking at the data to see how our fall rates compare to rates when we used the Morse Scale.

We want our nurses to know how much we respect their dedication. We want them to know how much we admire their innovation and resourcefulness when it comes to advancing research and medical care for our patients. And we want them to know that Jefferson hospitals are great hospitals because of their commitment to excellence.

Official commendation can come in the form of the prestigious Magnet certification, or through our DAISY Award and Jefferson Honors programs. The greatest validation though, for our nurses, comes in the form of gratitude and love from their patients, and appreciation from medical staff and colleagues.

Every Jefferson nurse knows the feeling, the personal satisfaction that comes from performing at the highest level, dealing literally in life and death issues, with care and caring, compassion and understanding. He or she knows the privilege and responsibility tied up in a profession that is among the highest callings.

During National Nurses Week this year, we should all take a moment to credit our nurse professionals who, in the tradition of Florence Nightingale, consistently deliver on our promise to put patients and families first and provide top-quality patient care, with caring.

We say “thank you” to each one of you. You are what make Jefferson great.

David P. McQuaid, MBA, FACHE, President, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc.

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, President, Thomas Jefferson University and TJUH System


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