Patient Care

Strong Memorial Hospital Recognized for Nursing Excellence

Aug. 18, 2013
Magnet Designation is Proven Indicator of Better Patient Outcomes

Chief Nursing Officer and Associate Vice President Patricia Witzel is pleased to announce Strong Memorial Hospital is being re-designated as a Magnet® hospital, a recognition that serves as the gold standard for nursing excellence around the globe. The achievement reflects Strong’s high quality of patient care, outstanding nursing standards and practice, and supportive environment for its 2,200 nursing professionals.  Fewer than 7 percent of American hospitals have received this honor from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The Magnet Recognition Program approval process is rigorous, requiring thousands of pages of documentation and a four day visit from an ANCC Magnet appraisal team.  In June, the team met with nurses, physicians, administrators, patients, visitors, and many others at Strong.  The evaluation considered nurse contributions to high quality patient care, as well as the hospital’s commitment to creating a positive environment for its nursing staff.
“Patricia Witzel’s elite leadership is recognized throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center, as well as regionally and nationally,” states Deborah Zimmerman, D.N.P., R.N, NEA-BC, chair of the Magnet Recognition Program® commission.
During the site visit and through a review of the 2012 Morehead employee staff satisfaction survey, Magnet® appraisers found an “exemplary” level of nursing staff engagement and satisfaction.  In the survey, Nursing Practice outperformed the national benchmarks in all four areas:  Commitment, Employee, Manager, and Organization.
“We empower our nurses to assist with important decisions regarding patient care, we provide them with opportunities to keep learning throughout their careers, and recognize their exceptional contributions to patient- and family-centered care,” says Stephanie VonBacho, M.S., R.N., NEA-BC, director of the URMC Magnet Program.
Patricia Witzel, R.N., M.S.,M.B.A, NEA-BC, FNAP adds, “Nurses come here because they have opportunities to practice state-of-the-art technology and procedures.  They contribute to high-performing, multidisciplinary teams that are transforming health care through innovation and commitment to excellence.”
            This is not the first time Strong has received the honor, but this re-designation incorporates new, more stringent standards for patient outcomes.  A growing body of research indicates Magnet institutions like Strong enjoy better patient outcomes, including lower mortality rates, when compared to non-Magnet institutions.  In addition, Magnet hospitals are more effective at attracting and retaining topnotch nursing professionals.  This is particularly important in light of the international nursing shortage, which is expected to challenge health organizations over the next decade.
            Magnet status originated during another nursing shortage in the 1980’s.  Strong was among 41 hospitals that were able to continue recruiting and retaining talented nurses.  A task force examining the hospitals’ success labeled them “magnets” for the profession.
            In 2004, Strong was the first hospital in Rochester to achieve Magnet status, which is good for four years.  The ANCC renewed the designation in 2009.  Strong affiliates Highland Hospital and F.F. Thompson Hospital have also earned Magnet status.
            “We want to thank the many individuals who contributed to writing the documents, as well working tirelessly to make the site visit so successful,” say Witzel and VonBacho, naming Toni Smith, EdD, RN, FNAP, NEA-BC, Cindy Berry BSN, RN,  Mark Ott, MS, RN, NEA-BC, Ann Geiger, Karen Horton, Nishat Khan, Magnet Escorts: Ann Zimmerman, RN, Kristen Hans, MS, RN, Colleen Neary BSN, RN, Scott Frail, BSN, RN, Jamie Corcoran, BSN, RN, Cathy Beal, BSN, RN, CRN, Beth Glass, BS, RN,  Ashley Marie DiVincenzo, RN, Tiffany Basamon, BSN, RN, ATCN and all of the Magnet Unit Champions.
About the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®
The Magnet Recognition Program® administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the largest and most prominent nurses credentialing organization in the world, recognizes healthcare organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and professionalism in nursing practice. The Magnet Recognition Program® serves as the gold standard for nursing excellence and provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. For more information about the Magnet Recognition Program® and current statistics, visit