by Douglas Walter
North Colorado Medical Center recently announced that its nursing staff has earned the facility the Magnet designation, one of the highest levels of recognition for nursing care that a medical center can achieve.
American Nurses Credential Center’s, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, awards the designation for excellence in nursing services. Receiving it makes North Colorado Medical Center one of less than 250 hospitals nationwide that has met this standard of nursing care. It’s also the fifth Colorado hospital to receive the Magnet recognition, including Craig Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, University of Colorado Hospital and Poudre Valley Hospital.
"The Magnet recognition is one of the health care community’s highest honors," says Gene O’Hara, the chief executive officer at North Colorado Medical Center. "It publicly recognizes the excellent patient care our nurses give each day and reflects the commitment of our entire staff to serve as a team, providing the highest quality care and best patient experience anywhere for the people of our community and region."
Magnet designated facilities have higher consumer confidence and tend to experience fewer complications and lower mortality rates. The designation also aids in recruitment and retention of nurses.
Applying for the designation mean submitting to a rigorous, four-year overview of the nursing staff. The application process began in 2003 and included compiling 16 volumes of information on North Colorado Medical Center’s nursing practices.
Officials submitted the volumes in March of 2006, where staff at the American Nurses Credential Center evaluated the medical center on 14 standards of care. The hospital must score in a defined range of excellence to receive a site visit, the next level of evaluation, according to the North Colorado Medical Center.
A four-day site visit was conducted in August 2006, where hundreds of people were interviewed, including patients and staff. A team of appraisers also observed the day-to-day nursing practices to ensure that the nursing met the credential center’s strict standards.
"Achieving the Magnet recognition confirms what we have known all along, that our nurses are among the highest quality, most professional and compassionate nurses in this country," said Peggy Connor, the chief nursing officer at the medical center. "It represents an ongoing commitment ... not only to provide patients and families with superbly expert, compassionate nursing care, but also to assure the most satisfying and positive environment for our nurses to practice."
In the past year, North Colorado Medical Center has also been recognized by independent national rating agencies and the American Heart Association for quality heart care and by the Colorado Performance Excellence quality program.
North Colorado Medical Center is a fully accredited, private, not-for-profit facility licensed to operate 398 beds. It serves as a regional medical center with community-based and specialty services in a service area including southern Wyoming, western Nebraska, western Kansas, and northeastern