Shore Health Systems
Shore Health System

Shore Health System Earns Magnet® Recognition
October 19th, 2009

Hugs and tears were punctuated with glitter, confetti and noisemakers as Shore Health System nurses and their colleagues celebrated achieving Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet Recognition Program.


On October 13, Shore Health System achieved Magnet® recognition for excellence in nursing services from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®. The ANCC is the world's largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization and is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

This achievement followed six years of intensive preparation and documentation to demonstrate that Shore Health System provides the best nursing care, the highest quality patient care and the most supportive and innovative working environment for nursing professionals. Magnet status is valid for four years

Hundreds of staff nurses and their colleagues from around Shore Health System gathered at The Memorial Hospital at Easton and Dorchester General Hospital to hear the news as it was broadcast live on a conference call between Chris Parker, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient care services for Shore Health System, and Gail Wolf, DSN, RN, chair of the ANCC's Commission on Magnet Recognition.

Congratulating Parker and his nursing team for their accomplishment, Wolf said, "This was a unanimous decision of the Magnet Commission. You demonstrated a true commitment to Magnet. Only five or six percent of other hospitals in the country have been able to do this."

Wolf continued, "This is an awesome accomplishment and carries with it ethical responsibilities. Shore Health System is a grounded, well-balanced and established organization. Because you come from such a solid base, you are the leaders we look to for tomorrow."

John Dillon, chair of the Shore Health System board of directors, told those assembled for the celebration, "The Board didn't need this recognition to know that we have a terrific team at Shore Health System. I congratulate Chris Parker and his team for this impressive honor."

Adding his congratulations, Joseph P. Ross, president and CEO for Shore Health System, said, "I've been with Shore Health System for 15 years and the thing that has given me the most pride is what you have created " a nursing organization that went from a 15 percent vacancy rate to one that is worthy of national recognition. I am indebted to you and appreciate all that you do every day to help us get and keep Magnet status."

The Magnet Recognition Program was developed in 1993 after nearly a decade of research by the ANA to find out how a small percentage of hospitals were able to attract and retain nurses when so many others were facing double digit nursing vacancies. The ANA referred to these hospitals as "magnet" hospitals because they were places where nurses wanted to work.

ANA's research called the attributes that these hospitals shared "forces of magnetism." These forces, when in place, create an environment in which policies, organizational structure and clinical programs all recognize the vital role that nurses have in delivering safe and effective patient care.

The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing practice and adherence to national standards for the organization and delivery of nursing services. Applicants undergo a rigorous evaluation that includes extensive interviews and review of nursing services. Research shows there are clear benefits to hospitals that are awarded Magnet status and to the communities they serve:

Healthcare consumers have more confidence in the overall quality of a hospital if it has achieved the level of excellence established by the Magnet Recognition Program.
Magnet facilities consistently outperform other facilities in recruiting and retaining nurses resulting in increased stability in patient care and patient satisfaction.
Because quality nursing is one of the most important factors in enlisting high caliber physicians and specialists, Magnet status becomes an attractive force that extends to the entire facility.

The Magnet Recognition Program application process requires that a hospital or health system closely examine every aspect of nursing practice. By documenting how nurses care for patients and interact with physicians and other colleagues in clinical and support roles, organizations that seek Magnet recognition show how they exemplify nursing excellence while identifying areas where ongoing enhancement will further benefit patient care and staff morale.

In extensive documentation submitted to ANCC and during a three-day onsite survey completed by ANCC appraisers this summer, Shore Health System demonstrated its commitment to empowering nursing staff members and supporting their professional development. The document also provided examples of how Shore Health System fosters collaboration among staff and embraces the community as a partner in providing healthcare services.

A few statistics put Shore Health System's accomplishment in perspective. Of the more than 350 US hospitals that have achieved Magnet recognition, a small percentage are multi-hospital health systems like Shore Health System, which operates The Memorial Hospital at Easton, Dorchester General Hospital and a network of outpatient services, including home health care, hospice, rehabilitation and cancer care. The majority of Magnet organizations are large urban hospitals and many are academic medical centers or teaching facilities.

"Few Magnet hospitals are community hospitals like ours and even fewer are in a rural setting," Parker explains. "Our job has been to bring to our community health system the culture of nursing practice that emphasizes the kind of nursing research found at teaching hospitals. Making this journey to Magnet shows that we are doing this and doing it well."

Shore Health System is the first health system on the Delmarva Peninsula to attain Magnet recognition and only the second affiliate of the University of Maryland Medical System to achieve Magnet status. The University of Maryland Medical Center based in Baltimore received the honor in July. Few home health care agencies around the country have received the Magnet honor and Shore Home Care Hospice is among the first hospice agency to be recognized.

About Shore Health System

Shore Health System was formed in 1996 through the affiliation of The Memorial Hospital at Easton, located in Talbot County, and Dorchester General Hospital, located in the city of Cambridge in Dorchester County. Today, Shore Health System is a regional, not-for-profit network of inpatient and outpatient services with facilities in Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Queen Anne's counties.

In 2006, Shore Health System merged with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). As a member of UMMS, and through partnerships with the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Shore Health System is bringing world class medical care to residents of Maryland's Mid-Shore and the Delmarva Peninsula.

Memorial Hospital is a 140-bed acute care hospital providing emergency care and medical and surgical services for children and adults. Memorial Hospital earned designation as a primary stroke center from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System in 2007. Located at Memorial Hospital is the Requard Center for Acute Rehabilitation, a 20-bed "hospital within a hospital," whose staff provides acute nursing care and a comprehensive program of physical, occupational and speech therapy for adults recovering from injuries, surgery and illnesses. Memorial Hospital provides a full array of diagnostic and therapeutic inpatient and outpatient services, including comprehensive imaging services, laboratory testing, same day surgery, and neurological, cardiovascular and pulmonary diagnostic testing and rehabilitation. Other specialty services include pain care, joint replacement, diabetes management, wound healing, sleep disorders studies and kidney transplant evaluation.

Dorchester General Hospital is a 38-bed adult medical/surgical hospital, providing 24-hour emergency services. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, gynecological, orthopedic, acute rehabilitation and critical care. The hospital also has a 16-bed adult behavioral health inpatient unit, which provides acute psychiatric care for patients from the Mid-Shore region and the lower counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Dorchester General Hospital provides a full-array of diagnostic and therapeutic services, including comprehensive imaging services, same day surgery, endoscopy, lab testing and sleep disorders evaluation. Dorchester General Hospital operates the region's only Balance Center which is staffed by physical therapists, who diagnose and treat balance disorders.

Shore Health System operates a regional network of outpatient rehabilitation, diagnostic and testing services with facilities in Easton, Cambridge, Denton and Centreville. In Easton, the Digestive Health Center performs endoscopic procedures, colonoscopies and other procedures for gastrointestinal health care. Shore Home Care and Hospice is a regional network of home health and hospice providers, who travel around the Mid-Shore to provide nursing care and physical and occupational therapy.

Shore Regional Cancer Center and the Requard Radiation Oncology Center provide state of the art cancer care for the Mid-Shore region. Shore Regional Breast Center based at Memorial Hospital offers community education, diagnostic services, genetic testing, counseling and treatment for women living with breast cancer.

Taking a moment to accept the applause of their colleagues after hearing that Shore Health System received Magnet status are (left to right) Barbara Bilconish, MSN, RN-BC, Magnet Coordinator; Amy Lowe, Administrative Assistant; Chris Parker, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer; and Janet Hash, RN, Chair of the Nursing Shared Leadership Global Council.

Jerry Walsh, chief operating officer for Shore Health System (left), congratulates his colleagues Chris Parker, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, for achieving Maget status for the organization.

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