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January 2008

In This Issue...

Message from Nancy Bucher

The start of a new year always brings with it a sense of anticipation about fresh opportunities that lie ahead. As we begin 2008, I am excited about opening the CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence and beginning our journey toward designation as a Magnet™ facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. I want to emphasize that we embark on this journey not simply to achieve Magnet Recognition® status for CKHS hospitals but, more importantly, to enhance ongoing professional development for our nurses as well as excellence in patient care. 

Many of our nurses have displayed great enthusiasm for professional development opportunities and we are eager to provide assistance through the Center to nurses who wish to pursue advanced degrees, certifications or nursing research. We are fortunate to have Zanet Lester, RN, BSN, MSHA, a caring, devoted and accomplished Crozer-Keystone nurse for 30 years, to lead these efforts as coordinator of the Center.

As we pursue our goals together, we clearly face challenges in a competitive health care environment, intensified by declining reimbursements and the rapidly increasing number of uninsured patients in our community. Nurses are the heart of our hospitals, and at times like these, it is even more important for Crozer-Keystone nurses to pull together and support one another as we continue to provide the highest quality nursing care possible.

Working together, we’ve made great strides during the past three years with the implementation of shared governance across CKHS. I want you to know how personally proud I am of your progress in developing our nursing councils for practice, quality and research, as well as unit councils. Thanks to your hard work, we are well positioned for the journey that lies ahead. I’m confident that, together, we will reach new heights of nursing excellence.

What is the CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence?

The mission of the CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence is to foster a work environment that nurses find both professionally and personally rewarding, to enrich professional development for Crozer-Keystone nurses, and to enhance excellence in patient care.

Pursuing this mission will enable Crozer-Keystone to achieve the three goals identified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®: promoting quality in a setting that supports professional practice, identifying excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients, and disseminating best practices in nursing service.

“We want our nurses to feel valued for their expertise, skill and compassion in caring for patients and their families and in every interaction with their colleagues at Crozer-Keystone,” says Zanet Lester, RN, BSN, MSHA, the Center’s director. 

The Center’s efforts will be based on values that include strong organizational leadership, quality professional practice, and a solid commitment to professional development and self governance. These values are embodied in the “Forces of Magnetism,” which are core measures that exemplify excellence in nursing identified by the American Academy of Nursing in their original Magnet study. They include quality of nursing leadership and patient care, nurses as teachers, autonomy, interdisciplinary relationships and professional development, among others.

The work of the Center has already begun with a system wide evaluation of the characteristics of excellence by a steering committee composed of a cross section of 30 interdisciplinary leaders. The committee has identified areas for improvement within each of the 14 Forces of Magnetism, and work groups comprised of direct care nurses and nurse leaders across CKHS have been established to enhance performance in those areas.

Strategies for improvement include strengthening the nursing councils – Unit, Practice, Quality and Research.  “To facilitate a solid foundation for new unit councils and to strengthen existing ones, we are planning an in-service for nurse managers and council chairs,” explains Lester. “We want to create a culture where we affirm our nurses’ expertise by empowering them to question their practice by looking at the professional nursing literature and best practices, partnering with the Practice Council to implement new ideas and the Quality Council to assess for improved outcomes.”

Increasing recognition of nursing accomplishments at the individual, unit, council, hospital and system-wide level will also be a key function of the Center.  `

While pursing Magnet Recognition is a goal, the Center’s overarching mission is to further nursing excellence. “Pursuing this goal together will help each one of us to strengthen our individual nursing practices,” emphasizes Lester.  “At the same time, we will cultivate an environment where nurses feel valued and proud of their profession, and that can only lead to better care for our patients. To achieve our goals, every one of us will need to take a step forward in our personal and professional growth every day.”

Meet Zanet Lester

Zanet Lester, RN, BSN, MSHA, Coordinator of the CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence, began her nursing career 30 years ago as a staff nurse at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.  For nearly all of those years, she cared for expectant and new mothers and their babies in Maternal Child Health. Early in her career, she served as assistant nurse manger of the Newborn Nursery and later, created and expanded the role of childbirth education coordinator.

Before her most recent appointment, Lester was a member of the Maternal Child Health leadership team, serving as coordinator of Special Maternity Services. She developed and implemented various programs on pregnancy, childbirth and perinatal bereavement for use with patients and in professional training as well as presentations to high school and college students. She also was instrumental in introducing and implementing system-wide services for families who have experienced a pregnancy loss. In addition, Lester initiated and chaired the Breastfeeding Task Force to improve patient services. Her responsibilities also have included coordinating quality efforts, developing and reviewing policies and procedures and participating in marketing and strategic planning for Maternal Child Health system wide. Last year, she was DCMH’s nominee for the Nursing Spectrum Nursing Excellence Award for Community Service.

“As a labor and delivery nurse, I loved the privilege of sharing the sacred moment of birth with parents,” recalls Lester. “In addition to providing skilled nursing care, it was fulfilling to be able to lessen the mother’s fears through compassionate touch and caring words.”

In her new position, Lester is excited about enhancing the work environment for her nursing colleagues and taking patient care to a new level of excellence.  “I am passionate about nursing excellence,” she says. “Working to instill the Forces of Magnetism within Crozer-Keystone will help all of us to be better nurses, to improve patient care, and as a result, to take even greater pride in ourselves as nurses and our profession as a whole.”

In Future Issues . . .

Each month in this newsletter, we will highlight the latest developments and progress from our nursing practice councils, news about best practices and innovative efforts, and stories about individuals who exemplify nursing excellence. We invite you to tell us about a nurse who you think is doing excellent work and why.  Send your ideas to Zanet Lester at zanet.lester@crozer.org.