Saint Peter’s University Hospital receives Clinical Healthy Work Environment Award


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Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is the recipient of the 2021 Clinical Healthy Work Environment Award presented by Sigma Theta Tau, an organization that empowers nursing leaders to transform global healthcare.

The award recognizes and honors a clinical facility that demonstrates commitment in promoting a healthy work environment and excellence in healthcare outcomes, according to information provided by Saint Peter’s.

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Applicants for this award were evaluated based on the creation of a healthy work environment as demonstrated by new programs with involvement of frontline healthcare workers and sustained programming addressing healthcare workers’ needs, along with evidence of positive patient outcomes, according to the statement.

“At Saint Peter’s we minister to the whole person, body and spirit, something that is exemplified everyday by our extraordinary nursing staff,” Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and chief executive officer, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, said in the statement. “I think that was truly demonstrated throughout the pandemic when many nurses were re-deployed to new assignments, adjusting to new responsibilities and new supervisors, yet always responding to the challenges with grace and determination to care for our most critically ill patients.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff requested a forum to share their experiences and with the support of Saint Peter’s Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Carroll, MSN, RN-BC, a nurse driven support group known as “Masks Off” was created. This forum provided a safe place for staff to discuss the novel experiences that the pandemic experience presented, allowing them to share emotions and insights with others who were experiencing the same thing, according to the statement. The positive benefits were seen in the way the program impacted the emotional well-being of the clinical staff.

The hospital is also committed to the visibility and representation of nursing leadership on many levels including its presence on the Board of Governors. In addition, weekly chief nursing officer/director unit rounds are practiced, as well as director/nurse manager rounds, enabling leadership to be physically present to support staff. Visibility of nursing leadership has had a direct impact on staff engagement and satisfaction, according to the statement.

Further evidence that the well-being and resiliency of the nursing staff is valued and supported by hospital leadership includes the establishment of relaxation areas for staff, according to the statement. “The Sanctuary,” created by volunteers from nursing and the medical staff during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, remains space designed to help staff escape from the demands of the day – to re-energize – which is critical to managing stress. It offers interior and exterior space with lounge and massage chairs, hammocks, music, aromatherapy and a tea cart for staff to enjoy. In addition, a Sanctuary satellite opened on one of the hospital’s clinical care areas to provide easy access for nursing staff.

“I have spent my entire career as a nurse at Saint Peter’s,” Linda Carroll, MSN, RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, said in the statement. “My longevity here is a testament to Saint Peter’s culture of excellence and Catholic mission of caring for and ministering to our patients and to one another, and to our commitment in promoting a healthy work environment, excellence in healthcare outcomes and ongoing education. I am extremely proud to have been a member of the Saint Peter’s nursing staff for more than 30 years and to lead an exemplary nursing staff with whom I share a special comradery and dedication to our craft.”

Nursing excellence at Saint Peter’s is reflected by a host of accolades the team has received, according to the statement:

*   Saint Peter’s University Hospital has been re-designated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Nurses Association for 2020-24, making Saint Peter’s one of only five hospitals worldwide to receive this designation for six consecutive terms. Magnet recognition is the highest honor for nursing service excellence that any hospital can receive.
*   Saint Peter’s critical care nursing unit has been a recipient of the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The award recognizes hospitals that utilize evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes and a healthy work environment for nurses. At Saint Peter’s, Beacon recipients include the Adult Intensive Care Unit, a five-time recipient; the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a three-time recipient and the first NICU in New Jersey to receive this award; and the Cardiac Progressive Care Unit, a first-time recipient.
*   U.S. News & World Report ranked The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for Neonatology. Saint Peter’s was the only hospital in New Jersey to receive this prestigious honor two years in a row.
*   Saint Peter’s earned an “A” 2020 Hospital Safety Grade, a comprehensive, peer-reviewed rating developed by The Leapfrog Group to evaluate hospitals on how well they protect patients from preventable errors, injuries and infections. Published twice annually, the grades also account for process measures that promote patient safety and the results of patient experience surveys.
*   Saint Peter’s has earned the Age-Friendly Health System designation as part of the Age-Friendly Health System initiative. The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, are helping hospitals and other care settings implement a set of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to improve care for older adults.
*   Saint Peter’s ranks among the top three hospitals in the state for patient experience as measured by HCAHPS for “Best Possible Hospital” and “Likelihood to Recommend.”
*   The nursing leadership at Saint Peter’s actively supports the work of the Organization of Nurse Leaders of New Jersey (ONL NJ), a coalition that took the lead in addressing the principles of a healthy work environment by developing Nursing Workplace Environment and Staffing Councils (NWESC) across the state.

“We are proud of our success in transforming our work environment into an organization where nurses understand they are valued, safe and supported by every level of the organization, from peer to manager to senior leadership,” Lisa Drumbore, vice president of Marketing and Communications, Chief Patient Experience officer at Saint Peter’s, said in the statement.

Visit or call 732-745-8600 for more information about Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

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