Straight Talk - "National Nurses Week"

May 15, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We’re halfway there!

One highlight of last week’s National Nurses Week, reported by CNO Michele Thoman, was that our wonderful nurses had attained the Pathway Designation, marking the halfway point, to obtaining Magnet Status. The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Magnet hospitals are the crème de la crème of nursing recognition. We are the third hospital in Florida and the only hospital in southwest Florida to obtain this Pathway Designation.

It has been a banner year for our nurses. NCH nurses with specialty certification have increased from 6% to 23%, and RNs with a bachelor’s degree or higher from 15% to 40% over the past four years. The career ladder program, designed to enhance the quality of care, improve outcomes, reward excellence, and promote nursing satisfaction, is thriving in its third year with an increase in participation of 40%. Overall RN satisfaction over the past four years has also been positive.

In terms of quality, our metrics continue in the right direction with falls, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line infections, and pressure sores—all improved. Nursing research, which was non-existent four years ago, now has seven studies either in progress or completed. Our nurses, when anonymously surveyed, have had an increasing confidence in our quality. When it comes to hospital quality, there is no more expert assessor than our nurses, so this progress is heartening.

We are also growing into Shared Decision Making (SDM), an innovative process to engage all nurses, from bedside to boardroom, to contribute collaboratively to ownership of nursing practice, standards, and quality of care. Empowering colleagues is the cornerstone of equity, teamwork, accountability, and autonomy. SDM is based on evidence analysis, clearly defined objectives, effective measurement, and evaluation of outcomes.

The ASPIRE (Achieving, Success, Professionalism, Integrity, Rewarding, Excellence) program is another that aims to enhance the quality of care, improve patient outcomes, reward excellence, and promote nursing satisfaction. The 131 nurses in this clinical career ladder program possess intellectual curiosity, demonstrate life-long learning, and receive financial rewards at the upper levels.

We culminated Nurses Week with an awards ceremony at the Naples Beach Hotel. Scores of NCH nurses were recognized (, starting with the Thelma Hodges Nurse Mentors of the Year—RNs Aubrey Fulton, 5 North downtown and Nancy Davison, Brookdale. Other winners included Nurses of the Year Amy Yates, 4 North downtown, and Sandra O’Donnell, 4th floor North Naples Hospital (NNH); Rising Star (nurses new to the profession) Natalie Bigica, 6 North downtown, and Genesis Galarza, 3 West NNH; Nursing Technician Support Superstars Joan Fulton, Care Technician (CT) 5 North downtown and Suzanne Esparza, ED Tech NNH; and Nursing Secretary Support Superstars Michelle Warnock, 3 North downtown and Amber Salls, Brookdale.

You can support our nurses through a special NCH Friends of Nursing Fund. Simply visit to make a contribution. Our nurses are among our proudest assets. We are thankful to have these dedicated healthcare professionals. They richly deserve the support of all of us!


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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