VCU Health System honored for Magnet designation

The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System has been recognized officially for achieving Magnet status by representatives from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Magnet designation is the highest honor and level of recognition the group awards to nursing excellence in national and international health care. An awards and recognition ceremony was held at the VCU Medical Center on Thursday.

"Culture change is not a small thing. I know what you've done, and I can't tell you how proud I was to hear that you had won the Magnet designation that I am delighted to present to you today,” said Dr. Lois L. Kercher, ANCC Magnet commissioner and chief nursing officer of Sentara Healthcare.

The award recognizes excellence in 14 rigorous standards that touch all aspects of nursing, from patient care quality to nursing education and leadership. The VCU Health System met a range of criteria, including the quality of nursing leadership, professional models of care, quality of care and a commitment to quality improvement.

“This award is a validation of our nurses’ and caregivers’ expertise,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the VCU Health System. Retchin also said that some of the best tips he has received in his career as a physician have been from his nursing colleagues.

The ceremony fittingly took place during Week of the Nurse — a national celebration of nurses devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which nurses are working to improve health care. This year’s theme is "Nurses: Strength, Commitment, Compassion.”

The Week of the Nurse always occurs in May and ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

“Her accomplishments marked the beginning of an era of modern nursing,” said Carol Crosby, R.N., vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer. “This week is an opportunity for nurses to step forward, to take a week to recognize both the individual and collective accomplishments of nurses and improving the lives of those they serve.”

The Magnet recognition program was developed by ANCC to recognize health care organizations that provide the best in nursing care and uphold the tradition within nursing of professional nursing practice.

“I am proud that such a prestigious organization as the ANCC has recognized nursing excellence at the VCU Health System by awarding us its prestigious Magnet designation,” said Crosby. “I am so proud of the nursing staff at the VCU Health System — proud to lead them, proud to be one of them.”