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Northampton joins scheme to boost nurse working conditions

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Northampton General Hospital has become the first NHS hospital in the UK to sign up to an internationally-recognised programme for nursing and midwifery standards.

The Pathway to Excellence programme recognises hospitals for the quality of patient care and professional satisfaction of the nurses and midwives who work in them.

“We’ve chosen to adopt this programme because it mirrors exactly what we’re working to achieve”

Carolyn Fox

It is intended to recognise healthcare organisations for creating positive practice environments where nurses and midwives can excel.

To qualify, hospitals must meet 12 practice standards deemed essential to creating an “ideal nursing practice environment”, which is focused on promoting a safe and healthy workplace, creating a collaborative atmosphere, and supporting nurses on the job.

The programme is delivered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which also runs the Magnet hospital accreditation scheme for high quality nursing.

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

NHS hospital signs up to global nursing scheme

Carolyn Fox

Carolyn Fox, director of nursing, midwifery and patient services Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Achieving Pathway to Excellence designation will be a huge milestone in our journey of improvement.

“We’ve chosen to adopt this programme because it mirrors exactly what we’re working to achieve here in Northampton, a culture where our nurses and midwives feel inspired and valued and where we aim to deliver the best possible care for our patients,” she said.

She added: “It opens up exciting new opportunities to learn from a global community of healthcare settings, all sharing a common aim of achieving excellent standards of care.”

Christine Pabico, director of the Pathway to Excellence Program, said: “Creating a workplace environment that engages and inspires nurses has a direct, positive impact on many key variables – everything from nurse satisfaction and retention to patient satisfaction, safety and quality outcomes.

American Nurses Credentialing Center

NHS hospital signs up to global nursing scheme

Christine Pabico

“In today’s rapidly changing healthcare world, creating such an environment is more critical than ever,” she said.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association and promotes excellence in nursing and healthcare globally through credentialing schemes.

The Pathway to Excellence programme was developed into a national scheme in 2007, having started out as a US regional scheme. Developed by the Texas Nurses Association in 2003, the Nurse-Friendly hospital programme was established to improve nurse retention.

The 12 Pathway to Excellence standards are:

  • Nurses control practice of nursing
  • Safe and healthy work environment
  • Systems in place to address patient care and practice concerns
  • Orientation prepares nurse for environment that he/she works in
  • Chief nursing officer is qualified and participates at all levels of the organisation
  • Professional development is provided and used
  • Equitable compensation is provided
  • Nurses are recognised for achievements
  • Balanced lifestyle is encouraged
  • Collaborative relationships are valued and supported
  • Nurse managers are competent and accountable
  • Quality programmes and evidence-based practices are used
  • A mark of excellence for patients and their families
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