Hospitals Named to "Top 100" List Point to Nurses' Contributions to Success

Apr 12, 2012, 5:00 PM

A newly released ranking of the nation’s “top 100 hospitals” concludes that if every U.S. hospital had performed as well over the last 30 months as the hospitals that earned spots on the list, nearly 180,000 Medicare patients would still be alive today.

That calculation and the list itself come from HealthGrades, an independent hospital- and doctor-rating company based in Denver. Researchers analyzed approximately 150 million Medicare patient records dating back to 1998, looking at specific medical procedures and conditions. Collectively, the hospitals registered a 30-percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate across 17 specific procedures and diagnoses during 2008 and 2010. The company calculates that if all hospitals delivered care as effective, some 179,593 Medicare patients’ lives would have been saved.

NurseZone.com checked in with a number of the hospitals on the list, and found that many “credit their nursing staffs with helping them achieve the best safety records and high rankings.”

“Nurses are most important and are very much a part of the team,” says Victoria King, MHA, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands in Texas. “Nurses contribute, because they are at the bedside and are the captain of the ship every single day, watching those patients.” She notes that an important element of the hospital’s “culture of safety” is that nurses are encouraged to speak up if an error seems imminent. “That makes our nurses feel free, safe and protected to do the right thing and speak up when they need to,” she says.

Jan Mauck, RN, BSN, MSN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer of Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, also on the top 100 list, highlights the importance of interprofessional collaboration, according to NurseZone.

“Nursing and physician collaboration is integral in us being successful in our outcomes.... We are constantly, every day, making sure our environment is safe for our staff, patients and visitors, and our patient care is where it needs to be from a quality and safety standpoint. It’s consistent evidence-based practice [and] it’s shared governance where staff have input into their practice, and collaboration with all of the stakeholders.”

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This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.