Atrium Health Recognized for Commitment to Healthy Workplace at Locations in Anson and Union Counties

07.08.2024 Atrium Health News

Four Atrium Health facilities join six other N.C. hospitals recognized by American Nurses Association Program

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 8, 2024 Atrium Health hospitals in Anson and Union counties have received the distinguished “Pathway to Excellence” program designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. Pathway to Excellence is the premier designation for healthy work environments and recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate a commitment to establishing the foundation of a healthy workplace for nurses. The Atrium Health facilities included in this designation are Atrium Health Anson, Atrium Health Union, Atrium Health Union West and the Atrium Health Waxhaw free-standing emergency department.

“Supporting our nurses means doing so from every angle,” said Denise White, vice president and chief nursing officer for Atrium Health Anson and Atrium Health Union. “That means encouraging their professional development through career growth opportunities and our extensive professional governance structure, supporting their physical safety and well-being to make sure our nurses are cared for too and, above all else, holding one another to the highest possible standards for nursing excellence.”

“Our nurses care for the whole person, because we know how important it is for the outcome of our patients and their families,” said Janice Walker, senior vice president and chief nursing officer for the Southeast Region of Advocate Health, which encompasses the entire footprint of Atrium Health. “That’s why Advocate Health cares for the whole nurse. We are dedicated to creating a positive place for nurses to practice, which leads to exceptional outcomes for our patients and the families who support them.”

One of the requirements to achieve Pathway to Excellence designation is that at least half of the nurses at the facility (or in this case, facilities) must respond positively to a survey from ANCC about their work environments. At Atrium Health’s Anson and Union County locations, 99% of the nurses who received the survey responded to it – with overwhelming positive responses.

“This doesn’t happen overnight,” said Missy Baker, chief nursing officer for Atrium Health Union West. “This designation is years in the making and our teams have made a conscious commitment to advancing nursing care and its practice, while supporting nurses from the inside out. That means incorporating evidence-based practice in every patient encounter and offering our teammates the support they need to protect their physical safety and mental well-being.”

To achieve the Pathway to Excellence designation, a hospital must meet the ANCC’s six overarching standards that form the framework of a healthy work environment: shared decision-making, leadership, safety, quality, well-being and professional development. The assessment period includes a review of documentation, teammate narratives and comprehensive surveys completed by nearly every nurse at the hospital. The entire process can take years to complete.

“This is a recognition for the entire team at these locations, from nurses to physicians, team members and everyone in between,” said Rashard Johnson, senior vice president of Atrium Health’s south area. “This designation highlights a unique, interdisciplinary effort by all of our teams and their leaders to prioritize the work environment. We know that providing the best place to practice helps our teammates to raise their level of expertise, which results in extraordinary care for the patients we are privileged to serve.”

There are just six other Pathway to Excellence designated hospitals in North Carolina, including Atrium Health Cabarrus, and just 218 in the nation.

Atrium Health Navicent Peach, located in Byron, Georgia, received Pathway to Excellence designation in March 2024. Several other facilities within Charlotte-based Advocate Health – of which Atrium Health is a part – have also submitted applications and are at varying stages of earning the designation. This is the first time within the Advocate Health enterprise that multiple hospitals under the same chief nursing officer leadership have achieved this prestigious recognition at the same time.

Advocate Health currently has 12 Magnet-designated hospitals, which is a recognition also given by ANCC. Magnet designation recognizes a hospital’s commitment to excellence in nursing leadership, professional development, community impact, professional practice, quality patient care and innovation. In the Charlotte area, that includes Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, including its outpatient clinics, Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital, Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute and Atrium Health Mercy.