SOMC was notified Monday morning it is the first hospital in the region to achieve American Nurses Credentialing Center's highest honor, the Magnet designation, recognizing national excellence in nursing.
“There was a lot of excitement,” said Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer for Southern Ohio Medical Center. “We had a room full of people. We had a speaker phone in the middle of the table, and when the chair of the commission on Magnet called, everybody had party horns and noisemakers, and everybody screamed and celebrated. She was really quite impressed with that.”
Burchett said receiving the designation means a lot to a lot of people.
“The Magnet designation is the highest honor that is bestowed upon a hospital by the American Nursing Credentialing Center,” she said. “It recognizes national excellence in nursing. This puts Southern Ohio Medical Center on the map. It puts us in the top four percent of hospitals in the United States. There are only 276 hospitals out of nearly 6,000 hospitals who have achieved this designation. We are the first, and we are the only hospital in the region to receive this designation.”
Burchett said the closest Magnet hospitals to SOMC are in Columbus, Morgantown, W. Va., and Lexington, Ky.
The Magnet designation is awarded to select hospitals following an intensive review of documentation, data and clinical practices, followed by lengthy on-site visits.
“To nurses, it means that SOMC values their contribution and advancement, and that we provide an environment where nurses can flourish and practice autonomously in delivering excellent nursing care,” Burchett said. “To the physician, it means that as an organization as a hospital, we attract and retain outstanding nurses.”
Karen Thompson, SOMC director of Home Health Services and co-leader of the Magnet efforts, agreed with Burchett.
“Nurses want to work in a place where they are supported to provide the best quality care,” she said. “For the past two years, SOMC has been named one of the best places to work in the state of Ohio. We have also had nurses retention rates at 95 percent.”
To apply for Magnet designation, SOMC submitted nearly 2,000 pages of documentation demonstrating achievements in patient care, nurse satisfaction, quality improvement and nursing research.
That process was followed by a four-day on-site inspection by Magnet appraisers, which included visits to all patient care areas and interviews with hundreds of nurses, employees, physicians and community members.
Burchett said while recognizing nursing care and quality specifically, Magnet designation is a seal of approval on the hospital's overall quality and culture of empowerment, pride, respect, teamwork and integrity of all staff.
“This has been a long and wonderful journey touching every discipline in our organization,” said Valerie DeCamp, SOMC director of Inpatient Services and another leader of the SOMC Magnet efforts. “The result is a demonstration to our patients, employees, physicians, volunteers, community members, and current and future nurses of our commitment to quality.”
Burchett said the Magnet Recognition Program was developed by ANCC in 1994, in response to nursing shortages, to recognize health care facilities that provide what is termed, “the very best in professional nursing care.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.