Virginia Hospital Center Achieves
Darlene Vrotros, MS, BSN, RN
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
“I’m very proud of the nursing staff and all of Virginia Hospital Center. Our recognition as a Magnet hospital is an achievement that everyone helped produce—not one person, not one group of people, not even one profession.”
Darlene Vrotsos, MS, BSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at Virginia Hospital Center, vividly remembers the phone call in February from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The message was that ANCC Chair Deborah Zimmerman, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, would be calling Vrotsos the following week.
“The ANCC wanted to arrange a conference call for me and 300 of my closest friends to give us the results of their Magnet surveyors’ visit,” Vrotsos said.
After years of intense preparation and hard work, the nursing staff would finally learn if it had obtained Magnet status, the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence. Nationally, just six percent of hospital nursing staffs achieve the designation.
The Hospital’s auditorium was packed with nurses, physicians and Hospital leadership for the conference call on February 18. Nurses came in from home on their day off to be there for the announcement. On-duty nurses put their speakerphones on mute and listened in at their nursing stations.
“When Dr. Zimmerman came on the line, she was very excited to inform us we achieved the status of Magnet designation,” Vrotsos said. “Everyone cheered.”
Tina Brooks, RN, posted this message on her Facebook page: “So blessed to work with all these amazing nurses and support staff. There is a reason I commute so far … it’s the best hospital with the best nurses! Thanks for being awesome coworkers, and for letting me be part of the team.”
Earning Magnet status is far more than an achievement certificate to hang on a wall. The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Consumers rely on Magnet designation as the ultimate credential for high-quality nursing.
The standards required for Magnet certification demonstrate that nurses at Virginia Hospital Center are highly educated and engaged in decisions about patient care. Magnet also means that nurses receive the support they need from the medical staff and Hospital leadership to achieve excellence.
“We have embedded the Magnet standards in our nursing culture to provide the best patient care. It’s a continuous journey,” says Vrotsos. “We never stop improving, pushing ourselves and learning better ways to elevate the practice of nursing here.”
ANCC appraisers noted that Virginia Hospital Center excelled in every aspect of nurse satisfaction compared to a national database of its peers: leadership and management, professional practice environment, quality of care and structural empowerment. Rarely does a hospital excel in all of these areas.
“The literature has shown that there is a correlation between nurse satisfaction and patient satisfaction,” says ICU nurse Chris Geary, RN.
“I am part of a hospital where nurses give the highest-quality, safest care and are pushed to develop innovative nursing practices,” Sarah Holt, RN says. “Patients look for top-notch healthcare, and Magnet status is one more thing that sets Virginia Hospital Center apart.”
Holt noted that since she lives down the street from Virginia Hospital Center, “this is not just where I work, it’s who is going to take care of me when I’m sick. I’m proud that I work here and this is my hospital personally.”
What does achieving Magnet status mean for patients?
In going through the process to achieve Magnet designation, the nursing staff has made improvements in every department based on their knowledge, research and collaboration with other disciplines in the Hospital.
Those changes have led to higher levels of patient satisfaction. Virginia Hospital Center has the top score in nursing communication in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, as measured by HCAHPS.*
“Magnet status validates that the patient care here is excellent. We have the best nurses at Virginia Hospital Center— our patients tell us this every day in our patient satisfaction surveys. I am proud of our entire nursing staff,” says Vrotsos.
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