CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – Valentine’s Day at Hudson Valley Hospital Center (HVHC) was marked by a gathering of 75 members of the nursing staff and leadership. The group gathered around a phone in the Wagner Conference Room to hear if they had received Magnet Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an accreditation that recognizes excellence in nursing.
“I am very pleased to announce that Hudson Valley Hospital Center has once again received Magnet designation. Yours is a truly exemplary hospital that represents quality patient care so beautifully,” Patricia Reid Ponte, chair of the Magnet Commission. Cheers rose from the crowd when the announcement was made.
The designation requires the nursing program meet more than 87 criteria with regard to policy and procedures. Magnet certification is awarded to only 7 percent of hospitals nationwide, a total of 391 hospitals around the country hold the certification. The Magnet Certification requires thousands of pages of documentation, represents more than a year of work on behalf of nurses and requires a three-day inspection.
Chris Malmgreen, associate director for professional practice, said the Magnet Certification is more than a black and white look at numbers. She said certifiers also ask how and why questions, which encourage innovative hospital programs. One such program that the hospital adheres to, she said, is the Nursing Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders, or NICHE, program.
The NICHE program encourages elderly patients and their families to leave the hospital with an exercise and hydration regimen, she said.
“Even though we’re a hospital and we welcome you in, we’d really like you to not have to come back,” Malmgreen said. Other programs at HVHC that Malmgreen mentioned were a “no wait" emergency department and breastfeeding programs for new mothers.
The hospital first achieved Magnet accreditation in 2007. At the time, it was among only 4 percent of hospitals nationwide to be Magnet Certified. The first accreditation took more than two years of preparation and included more than 3,000 pages of documentation.
Kathy Webster, vice president of patient services, said, “We firmly believe that our commitment to excellence is a commitment to Magnet.” She said, “I am very proud of our entire nursing staff for the many hours of work that went into getting this designation, but more importantly for the quality of nursing at this hospital that goes on every day that has helped us to achieve this distinction.”
HVHC is the only hospital between Westchester and Albany that holds the distinction, only 18 hospitals in New York have been Magnet Certified.