Excela works to maintain sought-after national nursing designation

Excela Health officials are working on maintaining a sought-after designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center after first earning it in 2019.Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Helen Burns said the System Magnet Designation was the culmination of a lot of paperwork and perseverance by the entire staff. She and other health system officials and nurses attended a conference earlier this month during which they accepted the award in person, a ceremony that had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greensburg-based health system employs about 1,200 nurses. The designation is an “external validation” of the work they do and the nursing culture and contributions at all three hospitals, Burns said.
“It is the front line staff that make a difference in patient care,” she said.
Excela earned the Magnet designation for Greensburg, Latrobe and Frick hospitals. It will last until 2023 when officials will make another bid at achieving the honor.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Carol Fox said a small percentage of health organizations nationwide receive the recognition from the credentialing center.
“It’s a very rigorous process to prove that you are worthy and meet those criteria,” she said.
Officials prepared documentation of how Excela meets certain standards and then surveyors spent four days at the hospitals talking to staff members to verify details in the paperwork. Burns described the designation as being part of an “elite group.”
“I just think it is a testament to the nurses at Excela,” she said.
Credentialing center officials noted that the three hospitals excelled in the areas of community advocacy, partnering with patients to create individualized plans and the development of a nursing peer review program.
The designation also helps with hiring as nurses looking for jobs can be drawn to Magnet facilities. While the designation was announced before the pandemic started, nurses have been at the forefront of caring for patients who contract the coronavirus for the past 21 months. Registered nurse Maureen Cutrell said she attended the conference and was thrilled members of the Excela’s administration were there in support.
She has been working at the health system for 30 years.
“Covid has been a challenge for everyone, and our work is far from over,” Cutrell said. “Nurses have endured long hours and staffing shortages, emotionally exhausting days and caring for patients in the most demanding of circumstances.“