by Mike Lee
Pathway to Excellence is a distinction INTEGRIS Health Edmond has earned, said Angie Kamermayer, RN, chief nursing officer at INTEGRIS Health Edmond.
This honor is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It is a designation that recognizes hospitals for achieving nursing excellence for their practice environment. Pathway to Excellence is based on 12 practice standards, Kamermayer said.
Some of them include things like shared governance and work-life balance. The first standard is about nurses controlling their practice, which is about nurses being involved in decision making, Kamermayer said.
“The second standard is about the work environment and that it’s safe and healthy,” she continued. “So that nurses know when they come to work every day, they know that the hospital has their best interest in making sure their work environment has the right amount of staff, the right resources and tools that they need to safely take care of their patients.”
Kamermayer said the third standard of Pathway to Excellence is about having systems in place that address patient care and practice concerns. If they do have an issue with patient concerns, there’s a way for them to be able to communicate that to the leadership or to Kamermayer, she noted.
“And the fourth one is about orientation, preparing them for the work environment,” Kamermayer said.
New nurses that come to the hospital are trained sufficiently so that they can feel good about coming to work and having the right information to take care of their patients.
The fifth standard is that the chief nursing officer is qualified and participates at the highest level of the INTEGRIS organization. Kamermayer participates at the board level by representing nursing at all of the hospital staff and leadership meetings. She is the voice of nursing.
“The sixth standard is about professional development,” Kamermayer said. “We provide it. We support education to our nurses, not only at the continuing education level, but if they want to pursue advanced degrees, we will provide them with academic loans, tuition reimbursement, and can actually help the nurse who is wanting to achieve their bachelor degree in nursing to virtually pay for almost all of their patient training based on the school they select.”
Equitable compensation is the seventh standard. This means INTEGRIS makes sure the hospital is market competitive with wages and salaries.
“We do check on them on an ongoing basis to make sure we are paying our nurses appropriately,” Kamermayer said.
The eighth standard is about recognizing nurses for their achievements. This is for a nurse who does something extra-special to benefit a patient. It could be a project they are involved in to advance patient care.
“They are recognized and we have different award systems that allow the nurse for that recognition,” Kamermayer said.
The ninth standard is about having a balanced lifestyle. It’s important for everyone to know that life is not all about work, she said. So INTEGRIS promotes its wellness program to its nursing staff.
“We have a fitness center onsite,” she said. “And we do encourage our nurses and staff to use that.”
Standard 10 is about collaborative relationships that are valued and supported. Kamermayer said INTEGRIS Edmond promotes collaborative relationships among its departments and physicians. The team of professionals work well together, she said.
“The 11th standard is that nurse managers are competent and accountable. So this is leadership at the department level to make sure they are supporting the nursing staff and the work that they do.”
The last standard recognizes a quality program the hospital uses to promote evidence based standards in its best practices so that their patients get the best care.
Kamermayer said the journey of Pathway to Excellence began three years ago with the nursing staff. In the journey of trying to develop that foundation of excellence, it took a lot of time and dedication by the staff.
Annie Green, RN, ICU team manager, said Pathway to Excellence means that INTEGRIS Edmond is a great place for nurses to be.
“We’ve done a lot of work to get our hospital from point A to point B,” Green said. “One of the things I think is great is that we have unit based councils in every nursing department. We didn’t have that at the beginning. The nurses on the floor have the ability to make decisions for practicing and moving things on their unit.”
The journey for Pathway to Excellence sparked enthusiasm for the nurses, said Tammy Stanford, RN, clinical nurse manager for Surgical Services. Involvement by the nurses has made them feel empowered to achieve even higher goals, Stanford said.
“Everyone is working for certification and we encourage them to keep moving forward,” she said.
Marlana Travis, RN, clinical nurse manager for the Emergency Department said Pathway to Excellence is a unique culture that is built from the lowest level all the way up. It incorporates all the nurses to work toward the same standard of evidence based practices.
“Patients can know when they come here that they are going to receive the best health care possible,” she said.
Evelyn Radichel, RN, clinical director for Women’s Services, is proud to be one of a very few hospitals in Oklahoma and INTEGRIS to achieve this honor. Knowing all of the hard work the nursing staff achieved in order to reach for excellence is rewarding, she said. It involved countless hours and stories that were shared.