SVMC Wins Magnet Prize for Nursing Program

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SVMC staff accept the Magnet Prize in Houston.

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center was presented with the 2017 American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Prize before an audience of more than 10,000 nurses and conference attendees at the ANCC Magnet Conference in Houston.

The prize was given for SVMC’s Transitional Care Nursing Program, a part of the Accountable Community for Health Project. It is the highest honor that can be granted to a Magnet organization. Only one Magnet Prize is given worldwide each year.

In a message to staff on Thursday, President and CEO Thomas A. Dee wrote, "This project was not easy. It took an innovative approach, dedicated teamwork, and years of constant effort. And it was undertaken, not with the hope of winning an honor like this one, but out of steadfast devotion to our mission of exceptional care and comfort for the people we serve.

"With this award, our nursing and clinical team has placed SVMC — a small health system from a small town in a small state — among the best respected and most notable health care institutions in the world."

SVMC was selected from among 60 applicants. Award criteria indicate that the project must be an extraordinary innovation to address the identified problem or need. It must transform nursing, patient care, or the nursing environment, and be seen as enduring and able to be replicated in other settings. The prize, which includes a $50,000 purse to support continued work on the project, is sponsored by Cerner, a global leader in health care technology.

Over the past three years, SVMC has developed and used the Transitional Care Nursing Program to help high-risk, chronically ill patients, behavioral health patients, and patients dealing with substance abuse understand their ability to make decisions about their care. Community collaboration, which forms the basis of the Accountable Community for Health Project, has led to improved knowledge of resources and a significant reduction in the number of emergency department visits and hospital admissions.

"The ANCC Magnet Prize represents the successful implementation of our nurse-driven initiative through the collaboration and partnership of multiple organizations with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and our skilled nurses to deliver integrated care in our community," said Southwestern Vermont Health Care's Chief Nursing Officer Carol Conroy. "SVMC is pleased to be recognized for our innovative nursing approach, as it represents a foundation for healthcare in the future."

In 2002, SVMC was the first hospital in Vermont to earn the Magnet designation. The hospital has been redesignated four consecutive times. Only 43 hospitals worldwide and only three in New England have held the designation as long. In 2016, SVMC's Barbara Richardson, RN, won the National Magnet Nurse of the Year for her work to establish the Transitional Care Nursing Program at SVMC.

"ANCC is proud to recognize Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for its extraordinary work through their innovative Accountable Community for Health Project," said Jeff Doucette, vice president of the Magnet Recognition Program & Pathway to Excellence Program. "It is always exciting to see nurses leading the way and working in such a collaborative manner to improve delivery of care for their patients."

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