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Published on November 14, 2011

Innovative Care for Surgical Patient
Earns Abington Memorial Hospital a
Prestigious Magnet Honor

Abington Memorial Hospital’s Nursing Leadership Team receives the Magnet Honor at the National Magnet Conference in Baltimore, MD (from left to right):

Denise Mealey, R.N., nurse director, Nursing Administration, AMH;
Beth Fuller, R.N., nurse director, Emergency Trauma Center, AMH;
Mary Lou Kurilla, R.N., nurse manager, Rehab Unit, AMH;
Carol Chwal, R.N., administrative coordinator, Nursing Administration, AMH;
Karen Drenkard, Ph.D., R.N., executive director, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC);
Diane Humbrecht, R.N., director of nursing informatics, Nursing Administration, AMH;
Meg McGoldrick, executive vice president, AMH;
Peg Below, R.N., nurse director, Nursing Administration, AMH;
Deb Anderson, R.N., nurse manager, Operating Room, AMH;
Sandy Underwood, R.N., staff nurse, Operating Room, AMH;
Sue Kristiniak, R.N., clinical manager, Palliative Care, AMH;
Diane Breckenridge, R.N., director of associate research, Nursing Administration, AMH;
Barbara Schmock, R.N., advanced holistic nurse, Operating Room, AMH;
Barbara Wadsworth, R.N., chief nursing officer, AMH; and
Laurence Merlis, president and CEO, Abington Health.

ABINGTON, PA (November 14, 2011) — The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Cerner Corporation – a global supplier of healthcare solutions – have awarded Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) with the 2011 Magnet Honor. The award, which was presented at the National Magnet Conference in Baltimore, MD, recognizes Abington’s innovative nursing program and practices.

The Magnet Recognition Program® was developed to recognize healthcare organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and uphold the tradition of professional nursing practice. In 2011, the ANCC board of directors established the Magnet Honors to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. This is the second-highest honor ANCC bestows within the Magnet community.

Abington’s winning entry highlighted the Sacred Space Model of Care, a nurse driven project that has transformed care of the surgical patient through the use of innovative design, incorporating nurse caring behaviors and healing environmental modalities. This model, rooted in Watson’s Theory of Caring, has combined nurse caring behaviors (presence, touch, listening) with environmental changes (dim lighting, soft music, soothing wall murals) to create a healing environment for all surgical patients.

“This honor is a testament to our OR nurses and their dedication to their patients,” said Barbara Wadsworth, R.N., chief nursing officer. “The privileged bond between nurse and patient is at the heart of Sacred Space. The OR nursing team focuses on caring behaviors, as their actions are directed at honoring patients at their most vulnerable moments. It’s truly made a difference.”

The Sacred Space Model reflects evidence-based practice and provides guidelines for clinical practice, a teaching template for education and a newly developed measurement instrument to be used in future research studies. The unique Research Approach in Nursing (RAIN) process used at AH to mentor novice nurse researchers was the framework used to complete this research project. The nurse-driven, evidence-based project was initiated at the staff level with a core group of eleven nurses at various levels of practice. As a novice researcher and OR staff nurse, Barbara Schmock, R.N., advanced holistic nurse, became the principal investigator of the project with mentorship from the coordinator of the RAIN program. This team developed a protocol for nursing care in the Sacred Space, patient consent, data collection and development of the policy and procedure.

Based on a philosophy of “caring,” the concepts and principles of this model are applicable to all areas of healthcare policy and corporate institutions to improve the human experience. The OR staff met their goal of changing a once cold, sterile perioperative environment to a more caring, healing one. The Sacred Space is now standard practice in all operating rooms with 100 percent of the staff having received formal training on caring concepts. Requests to replicate the Sacred Space Model have been received from hospitals nationwide, and internally have been replicated on the Labor and Delivery unit. 

In 2003, Abington Memorial Hospital became the first acute care hospital in the Philadelphia region to receive Magnet designation, one of the nation's highest forms of recognition for nursing excellence. AMH received Magnet re-designation in 2008. Only 13 other hospitals in the State of Pennsylvania and just five percent of hospitals nationwide (289) have received this four-year accreditation that is effective until 2012.

In addition, AMH won one of the most prestigious awards in nursing, The Magnet Prize, in 2008 for its Daily CARE Plan (a patient information sheet that provides current and relevant information regarding the patient's plan of care, which is distributed each day to patients and their families). Bestowed to one Magnet hospital each year by the ANCC, The Magnet Prize recognizes extraordinary inventions that transform work environments.

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