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March 19, 2013 > Certified Nurses Day Recognizes Advanced Skills

Certified Nurses Day Recognizes Advanced Skills

Washington Hospital's Prestigious Magnet Status Highlights Quality Care

Nurses are on the frontlines when it comes to quality patient care. From the bedside to the operating room, they are involved in nearly every aspect of patient care at Washington Hospital. Today is Certified Nurses Day, which honors nurses worldwide who contribute to better patient outcomes through national board certification in their specialty. Certification requires advanced knowledge and skills to better meet the challenges of modern nursing.

"I enjoy being a certified nurse because I get to share my increased knowledge with other nurses and that leads to improved patient care," said Yanli Chang, BSN, RN, ONC, a certified orthopedic nurse at Washington Hospital's Institute for Joint Restoration and Research. "I am very passionate about the care I provide and it's great being able to see the results when patients say they received the best care possible. Our orthopedic services are ranked very high for the advanced and specialized treatment options that patients receive and I think our success is also a reflection of how advanced the nursing care is as well."

Washington Hospital's emphasis on continuing education and advanced nursing skills helped to earn it Magnet(r) status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the highest level of recognition that a hospital can receive for nursing care. This prestigious designation is relatively rare, with only five other hospitals in the Bay Area having earned the distinction.

"The Magnet(r) recognition program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice," said Trang Nguyen, BSN, RN-BC, a certified medical-surgical nurse at Washington Hospital. "Consumers rely on the Magnet(r) designation as the ultimate credential for high-quality nursing. It is the leading source of successful nursing practices and strategies worldwide."

Certification focuses on the same principles as the Magnet(r) status such as increased nurse retention and satisfaction, increased patient satisfaction, decreased mortality rates, and overall improved quality patient care, according to Nguyen. Certification sets a higher standard with evidence-based practices, professionalism, and advocating safe and responsible practices for patients and families.

Lower Mortality Rates

In fact, a study published in the October 2012 issue of Medical Care shows that surgical patients cared for in a Magnet(r)-recognized hospital have significantly lower mortality rates than those cared for in non-Magnet hospitals. Dr. Linda Aiken and her team analyzed data from 564 hospitals in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Of the hospitals involved, 56 had received Magnet(r) recognition from the ANCC. Controlling for differences in nursing, hospital, and patient characteristics, the team found that surgical patients in Magnet(r) hospitals had 14 percent lower odds of inpatient death within 30 days and 12 percent lower odds of failure-to-rescue compared with similar patients in non-Magnet hospitals.

"The Magnet(r) designation places an emphasis on professional education for nurses and encourages them to obtain specialty certification," explained Hillary Baldocchi BSN, RN, PHN, CNRN, a certified neuroscience nurse at Washington Hospital who works with stroke patients. "Specialty certification ensures that patients receive the highest level of care and simultaneously improves patient outcomes."

The ANCC's strong emphasis on advanced skills also requires Washington Hospital nursing staff to continually increase their knowledge and abilities year after year.

"I am a cancer survivor, so I know what it's like from the patient's perspective," added Tammy Ballantyne, BS, RN, OCN, an oncology certified nurse who works at Washington Hospital's Sandy Amos R.N. Infusion Center. "I received my chemotherapy and breast cancer surgery at Washington Hospital and it was the support that I received from the nurses during my treatment that helped motivate me to become a nurse. Chemotherapy is scary and I wanted to give back. That's why I became a specialized oncology nurse. Being a certified nurse in this specialty means that I have the ability to delve deeper into the realm of cancer treatment options that are available. I can better explain to people what they are going to go through and share my own experiences with them as well."

For more information about Washington Hospital's Magnet(r) status, visit To learn more about the Magnet recognition program and nurse credentialing, visit

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