A five-year journey for NorthBay Healthcare nurses culminated just before Christmas when they earned the highest level of recognition a hospital can receive for quality nursing care: the coveted “Magnet” designation.
Dozens of nurses and administrators listened on speaker phones in conference rooms at the two hospitals Dec. 18 as officials from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Maryland made the announcement.
NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville are now Magnet hospitals—a status owned by only 6 percent of hospitals in the United States, and only about 400 worldwide, honored for exhibiting exemplary patient care, positive clinical outcomes and innovation in professional nursing practices.
NorthBay Healthcare’s hospitals join Stanford Hospital, UC San Francisco Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center and John Muir Medical Center as Magnet hospitals in Northern California. Others nationwide include the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, N.Y., Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“The Magnet Recognition Program is the ultimate benchmark for patients and their families to measure the quality of care they can expect at a hospital,” explained an exuberant Kathy Richerson, vice president and chief nursing officer. “It’s called ‘Magnet’ because we are able to attract and retain top-flight professional nurses.”
She said her nurses have come a long way in five years since beginning what she called “the journey” to Magnet designation. “Today, our passion for patient care and the nursing profession was validated,” Richerson said.
Tears of joy flowed among scores of nurses when they heard the announcement. Deborah Zimmerman, chair of the Magnet Recognition Commission and chief nursing officer of Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center, heaped praise on them.
“You are an incredible organization. Even among Magnet organizations you are extraordinary,” she said, noting the teamwork, professionalism and competence of the nursing staff.
Additional praise came for nurses’ community service, which is uncommon among hospitals nationwide. “We saw it. There is no community event where there is no NorthBay nurses,” Zimmerman said.
Chris Stevenson, NorthBay’s Magnet program director, said the journey has been enlightening and rewarding. “It affirms the value of the work our nurses do every day, caring for members of the community who entrust us with their healthcare needs,” she said. “I’m very proud of each member of our NorthBay team.”