On May 4, ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine named the Children’s Hospital Central California Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses as “Best Nursing Team.” The award was announced in a cover story in ADVANCE.
“This is a great honor and wonderful recognition for one of our top nursing teams,” said Beverly Hayden-Pugh, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Children’s Hospital. “We know our NICU nurses are providing the best care out there, and now so does everyone else.”
ADVANCE for Nurses evaluated nursing teams in 12 different areas, providing scores in areas like dealing with change, promoting ongoing education and working effectively as a team. The Children’s Hospital NICU team scored high in all areas, not a surprise to Hayden-Pugh. “They are truly a dedicated team of nursing professionals who work hard together to create one of the top NICUs in the state of California. We have empowered them to make decisions about practice, education and quality, and they have used it at great benefit to the unit.”
Some of the nursing-based NICU initiatives detailed in the award nomination were:
- Enhancing the “Kangaroo Care” policy to define and promote the incredible benefits to mothers, fathers, and babies.
- Improving patient safety by redesigning the process of breast milk management.
- Redesigning the waiting room and visiting policy to be more consistent with Children’s Hospital’s family-centered care philosophy.
- Establishing a Developmental Care task force to focus on promoting development of neonates through various age-appropriate interventions.
- Facilitating and encouraging professional development through support of specialty certification for nurses.
- Developing a clinical “pocket resource book” for new nurses.
The award nomination acknowledged the nursing team’s participation and support in developing new criteria and workflow processes to support an expansion of Children’s NICU that added 23 private rooms in October 2008. Children’s is one of the first hospitals in California to offer private NICU rooms, allowing parents to remain at their baby’s bedside throughout their stay. Children’s has the only Regional Level III NICU in Central California, and this expansion brings the total NICU bed count to 104, giving Children’s Hospital Central California more neonatal capacity than any other general or children’s hospital in California.
Community-based efforts leading to the award included the annual “Preemie Graduate Picnic” held for nearly 30 years. The event brings together former NICU patients, staff and families to celebrate their success. Additionally, the nomination noted two Children’s NICU nurses who are developing neonatal curriculum to support the initiation of a NICU in Nepal. They will be traveling there this summer to offer their expertise.
Children’s outcomes with neonates under 1,500 grams is consistently better than other Level III centers in the state. Their adjusted mortality rate for this population is 9.2 percent compared to a 12.2 percent California average. Children’s “case-mix index” (a number that compares the severity of different populations), is the fourth highest of all 37 NICUs in a nationally comparative database. In other words, on average, the babies that come to Children’s are more seriously ill than those that come to 33 of the other NICUs, and yet they have better results than all of their regional peers.
This award comes in addition to Children’s Magnet Recognition Award for Excellence in Nursing Services from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Children’s was the first pediatric hospital west of the Rockies to achieve Magnet status in 2004, along with redesignation in 2008, and remains one of only 5 percent of hospitals in the nation to have raised their nursing services to this level.