Obici receives national recognition

Published 11:03 pm Friday, September 21, 2018

The nursing staff and executives at Sentara Obici Hospital cheered and cried tears of joy as the American Nurses Credentialing Center announced that the hospital received confirmation of its Magnet Recognition Program designation on Friday.

The designation recognizes hospitals for excellence in patient care, innovation in nursing practices and a supportive environment for nurses.

This honor is only given to approximately 8 percent of U.S. hospitals, and Sentara Obici is the first and only hospital in Western Tidewater to achieve the designation.

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“I am so proud of this team for putting in the time and immense effort to accomplish the Magnet designation. It truly exemplifies our focused dedication to quality patient care, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Dr. Steve Julian, president of Sentara Obici Hospital. “We are committed to improving health every day, and our nurses are essential to making that happen for our community.”

Receiving the designation was not an easy feat for the hospital. Debbie McDermott dedicated the last five years as the Magnet Program director to ensure the hospital would receive the honor.

“It’s validation, and it is so amazing,” McDermott said. “It was so hard. The pressure and the deadlines were so difficult.”

Part of the process required a research team to compile information that would satisfy almost 100 criteria points, and McDermott was grateful to her nurses and other staff for fulfilling the requirements.

“It really made it a lot better, because we emailed everything to validate conversations,” McDermott said.

The conference room was decorated with a yellow brick road and a mock Emerald City to coincide with the theme of the entire five-year journey.

“The theme has been the ‘Wizard of Oz’ because the Magnet Program is giving us something that we already have,” McDermott said.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and the excitement was palpable.

“This is like the highest honor. It’s like our Academy Award,” said Vice President for Patient Care Services Phyllis Stoneburner. “This is just the icing on the cake to have the staff recognition. It’s a celebration of and for nursing.”

The designation does more than make the nursing staff at Sentara Obici happy. This designation shows patients and potential employees the hospital’s commitment to nursing.

“This external validation demonstrates to others and to staff the commitment to nursing and that people can work where nursing is important,” Stoneburner said.

While it was an achievement to receive the designation, it was a bigger honor to receive two ‘exemplars’ from the program.

The ‘exemplars’ show that the team at Sentara Obici exceeded national benchmarks. They received them for excellence in nurse satisfaction and patient education on avoiding Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Exemplars are unusual in initial Magnet Program recognition, according to spokesman Dale Gauding.

The process does not end here for the team at Sentara. The designation has to be renewed every four years, and since the process is long and difficult, it will start as soon as the celebration ends.