LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2011) − A hospital emergency department has to be prepared at all times for worst case scenarios when patients who are suffering anything from sudden or chronic illness to trauma come through the door, and UK Chandler Hospital has been recognized as being among the best emergency departments in the nation by the Emergency Nursing Association's (ENA).
UK Chandler Hospital Emergency Department was one of 20 recipients of the first-ever Lantern Award given to emergency departments that exemplify exceptional and innovative performance in the core areas of leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research.
"Emergency departments are the safety net for millions of patients every year," said AnnMarie Papa, 2011 president of the ENA. "They see patients when they are most in need of help. The Lantern Award was designed to recognize those departments whose commitment to excellence truly exceeds normal practice."
"By applying for and receiving the Lantern Award, UK Chandler Hospital's Emergency Department has set themselves apart. They have subjected themselves and their practices to the scrutiny of experts and have been recognized for their commitment to quality patient care," said Papa.
Penne Allison, director of Emergency and Trauma Services at Chandler Hospital says the UK emergency department staff is committed to providing outstanding care.
“Throughout my career in emergency nursing, I have never worked with a group of more competent, compassionate and hardworking individuals as the staff at UK HealthCare ED. This award is possible because of UK HealthCare’s commitment to provide exemplary care to every patient, every time and the efforts of department staff, hospital administration and enterprise leadership. It is an honor and privilege to serve as a part of such a high performing team.”
The 20 emergency departments recognized by the ENA were evaluated on a wide variety of performance and outcome metrics, as well as qualitative questions about noteworthy practices and attributes of the emergency department focusing on their commitment to excellence and innovation.
“To be recognized by ENA as one of the nation's most exemplary emergency departments is a tremendous honor," said Matthew Proud, patient care manager in the Adult Emergency Center at Chandler Hospital. "Those in Lexington and across the Commonwealth should be extremely proud of the commitment to quality and excellence set by UK HealthCare and the staff of the Chandler ED.”
At UK, a Staff Empowerment Council (SEC) consisting of a multidisciplinary group of emergency department staff who focus on what is good for patient care (evidence-based practice) and what is good for an ideal work environment for staff, was created. The SEC also includes radiology, environmental services and other areas as needed to make improvements in the emergency department.
The council has been successful in implementing a bedside report for safe handoffs, daily huddles with specific communication focuses, and an annual peer recognition/award for outstanding employee performance. Other ED improvements include reduced arrival to treatment times, patient satisfaction, a reduction in overall time for patients discharged from the ED, and staff recognition by peers for excellent bedside care with “Stretcherside Miracle Pins.”
These improvements are a result of teamwork and camaraderie among staff from various departments across the enterprise.
"The work is different every day, every minute and you have to be prepared for everything," said Dixie Bryant, shift supervisor in the UK Emergency Department. "The UK ED nurses are a special group and we are very much like a family. We work closely and we go through everything together."
Patricia K. Howard, operations manager of Emergency and Trauma Services at UK, works closely with Bryant and Proud to ensure delivery of quality care to all patients in the day-to-day operations of the emergency department, as well as oversight of the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center. "It is an honor to be recognized by ENA and our emergency nursing colleagues for the exceptional care provided in the UK Chandler Emergency Department," she said.
The Lantern Award designation is valid for two years. After that period, emergency departments must reapply, be evaluated and meet the award criteria in order to regain their Lantern Award recognition.
The award name was selected by a survey of ENA members and is reminiscent of Florence Nightingale who is credited with changing nursing from a mostly untrained job to a skilled medical profession. Nightingale is sometimes referred to as the "Lady of the Lamp" for her actions during the Crimean War when she would work deep into the night checking on wounded British soldiers as they slept.
The ENA is the only professional nurses association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation and leadership. Founded in 1970, the ENA serves as the voice of more than 39,000 members and their patients through research, publications, professional development, injury prevention and patient education.
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