Nanticoke Hospital earns HealthGrades Excellence Award

By Carol Kinsley It's been a phenomenal year for Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, the best in the hospital's 60-year history, CEO Steve Rose told those present for the unveiling of the hospital's latest honor on April 24. HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings organization, has recognized Nanticoke for its results-oriented patient care by presenting its Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. Ranked among the "Top 5 Percent in the Nation," Nanticoke is one of 236 hospitals to receive the award out of more than 5,000 nationwide. "This is truly the ultimate award for us," Rose said. "It has been a marvelous journey for our emergency staff." This is Nanticoke's third HealthGrades award. The organization ranked Nanticoke among "American's Best 100 Hospitals for Critical Care" and among the top 10 percent in the nation for pulmonary care for 2012. Also, for the second year in a row, the hospital was named one of the Best 100 Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker's Hospital Review. And, its Information Technology Department was chosen as a winner in the "Where to Work: Best Hospital IT Departments" in the small hospital size category. Rose said the Joint Commission, an independent accrediting organization, had also referred to the hospital in its most recent report as "a gem." That, he said, was validation. "We're a lot better than people even know we are," he said. Rose praised the physicians, nursing staff, registrars, everyone in the department, saying, "This award is truly dedicated to what they have done to make our ED (Emergency Department) one of the best in the country." Chief Nursing Officer Penny Short echoed Rose's sentiments, saying the award was "validation of what we know in our hearts we do every day." Short said, "I am impressed with the current staff. Our next goal is to make this department the best it can be and the best in the state." The year in which the hospital had searched for a new director of the ED had been "the longest and most exhausting and challenging year in my career," Short said. The current director, Lisa Wile, R.N., was promoted from within the hospital, as was Short. Rose recalled asking Wile to consider applying for the position. He credited her leadership with improvements in the department. Wile quoted Rose saying "it takes a village." She added, "It takes a lot of teamwork, training and talent.

It takes dedication and compassion. It takes everyone doing their part but working collaboratively with the best interests of their patients in mind, to provide quality clinical care, from entry into the Emergency Department through discharge from the hospital." She cited many steps the ED has taken to improve service to its patients, all "evidence of quality," she said. Wile continued, "Our entire team ED, inpatient, lab, respiratory, radiology all of us working together accomplish the mission and help make it possible for the Emergency Department to be honored today by receiving the HealthGrades Excellence in Emergency Care Award. The real reward and the real payoff is knowing that we've made a difference in people's lives and in our community because we do what we do well, every day. "It's tough working in the Emergency Department ask any one of the staff. Long hours, sore feet, stressful and emotional situations can take their toll on them. We have to stay alert and be ready for anything at any time." She introduced Bob Ridinger, "who is alive and well today because of the excellent care he received from the staff here at Nanticoke, not just in the Emergency Department but throughout his stay." It is stories like Ridinger's that are "the true award for us," Wile said. Ridinger was actually without a heartbeat or respirations when he arrived at the hospital and doesn't remember much from the several days it took to stabilize him. But he does know he was "lucky to have this place and everybody here," he said. Rose said Ridinger's outcome was "a great example of rapid treatment. That is what this is all about." Kent Peterson, chairman of the board, said, "I love coming to events like this. I am also a member of the community, and I've known Bob most of my life. I'm glad he is still with us." Dr. John McKenzie, who was instrumental in implementing Cerner, the new electronic medical record system, said when he came here eight years ago the ED was "a little rough around the edges. But there had been administrative changes and gradual improvement in the staff and in morale. I thank Steve Rose for that." He continued, "I'm happy we hired from within. That makes people feel good about where they work."

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.