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Nursing Team Leads Way to Pathway to Excellence Designation of WRNMMC

07/18/2018

By Bernard S. Little

WRNMMC Command Communications​

The director of the Pathway to Excellence (P2E) Program for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recognized Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as the only Department of Defense organization to earn P2E designation during a ceremony May 30 at WRNMMC.

The ANCC’s P2E designation is an organizational credential to recognize health-care facilities that have created positive work environments where nurses can flourish, thereby bettering patient outcomes, quality of care and safety. Pathway-designated organizations are deemed the best places to work for nurses, with high nurse satisfaction and retention, according to the ANCC, an American Nurses Association’s subsidiary that promotes excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs.

Following more than two years of efforts geared toward earning P2E designation, WRNMMC also became just the second hospital in the state of Maryland to earn the distinction. Union Hospital in Elkton, Maryland is the only other hospital in Maryland that has earned P2E designation.

Hospitals seeking P2E designation must be eligible for the distinction by being in compliance with all state and/or federal laws relating to registered nurses in the workplace. Hospitals must also meet other eligibility requirements and an application process including the involvement of nurses from across the facility. Hospitals must also submit a detailed document demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence-based patient care and outcomes, and have the participation of at least 60 percent of their nursing team in a confidential online survey. The designation process also includes an on-site visit by ANCC representatives who thoroughly assess the organization.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate WRNMMC on your designation as a P2E organization,” stated Christine Pabico, P2E program director, in a letter dated May 9 to WRNMMC and its nursing team. “The award is the culmination of hard work by many people in [the WRNMMC] organization, and on behalf of the Pathway Program Office and Commissioners, I wish to applaud your efforts in achieving this prestigious recognition,” she continued.

Pabico added P2E designation “is an ongoing process” requiring those organizations recognized with the distinction commit to sustaining excellence in [their] work environment.

During the May 30 ceremony at WRNMMC, which Pabico attended to personally thank the entire Walter Reed Bethesda staff, she said the hospital continues to serve as an inspiration for others to follow.

“We are also beyond thrilled to be able to celebrate your great achievement of being the first Pathway-designated military hospital,” Pabico said. She added P2E is the premier designation for practice environments globally, and achieving the distinction requires a “rigorous process” with organizations having to meet and maintain the six P2E standards of shared decision-making (for nurses in governance of the hospital), well-being (of the nursing team), professional development (of nurses), quality (of care and services), safety (in patient care and the work environment), and leadership (for nurses).

Navy Capt. Valerie Morrison, director of nursing at WRNMMC during much of the hospital’s journey to P2E designation, said, “A premier organization carries premier designations.” Included among those designations is P2E, which emphasizes quality and safety, she continued. “That is truly who we are,” she added.

“The journey has certainly been one of great pride for the nursing staff,” Morrison continued. She furthered that earning P2E designation, as well as the other everyday efforts of the nursing team at WRNMMC, “is about ongoing work towards excellence for our patients and each other.”

Morrison said P2E is about the health of the workforce, “not just the nursing workforce, but the entire multi-disciplinary team.”

Sharing a personal story, Morrison said, “[WRNMMC] took care of me when I was diagnosed with cancer. [WRNMMC] surgically removed the tumor and ensured that I would have safe care through six weeks of radiation therapy and for five years of many follow-ups with the providers and nursing staff of all services and federal civilians. You all were excellent with my care and every day, you are excellent with the care you give [our beneficiaries].”

Navy Cmdr. Bridgette Ferguson, department chief for the 5th and 7th floors as well as the P2E program coordinator for WRNMMC, stated, “Research shows that healthy work environments improve not only nurse satisfaction, but also patient satisfaction and quality of care.”  She commended the entire P2E nursing team at WRNMMC for their efforts. She explained their efforts have resulted in improved engagement of the nursing staff and understanding of P2E standards of practice. She added their “way ahead” includes sustaining a culture of a positive working environment and recognition of nurses; empowering nurses; and building teams that foster cultural awareness, communication and professionalism; and sustaining Pathway Day and initiatives. “It truly does take a village,” she added.

Of the approximate 5,000 hospitals in the United States, the ANCC has designated approximately 150 as P2E organizations, according to ANCC officials. P2E has its genesis in the Nurse-Friendly hospital program, established in 2003 by the Texas Nurses Association to improve the workplace and positively impact nurse retention. The ANCC was able to expand the Texas Nurse-Friendly program into a national program, acquiring it in 2007 and renaming it Pathway to Excellence.​