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Best Nurses Story Winner Named; Contest Honored SVMC’s Magnet Nurses

Hope McCarthy’s heartfelt thank you to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center nurses and other staff earned the top prize in the Best Nurses story contest. The contest honored the hospital’s nurses on their re-designation as one of only 238 Magnet Hospitals for Nursing Excellence.

Announcement of the winner is one of the events marking National Nurses Week (May 6–12).

McCarthy’s story highlighted the extraordinary care her father received at SVMC during his last year of life.

In her story, McCarthy commended, “The teamwork from doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, dietary, and housekeeping was noteworthy … Thank you for the many gifts your team gave our family in some of our darkest hours.”

McCarthy’s winning story is reprinted in the May-June edition of SVHC’s Wellness Connection newsletter.

The hospital’s Magnet nursing coordinator and Magnet clinical nurse specialist judged the winner and runner-up stories. Harvey M. Yorke, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, said he was struck by the fact that the winning story recognized all SVMC employees.

“It’s typical of our nurses that they chose a Best Nurses story that is about not just nurses, but about all of the best employees and physicians at SVMC,” Yorke said.

Just as the nurses selected a story that recognizes their colleagues, McCarthy chose a prize that honors another.

The contest offered a grand prize of a $200 gift certificate for massages or other services at Integrative Therapies at SVMC or a $200 certificate for the hospital gift shop.

In lieu of one of those personal prizes, McCarthy asked that her prize be used for Integrative Therapies to sponsor the Relay for Life team she is leading in honor of her father, Macy Cookis. The relay is the American Cancer Society event, held in Bennington in June, that celebrates survivorship and raises money for the society.

The Best Nurses contest runner-up, Sharon Pinsker, wrote about the exemplary care she received from 2 East nurses.

“From the midnight nurse who always managed to make me laugh, to the day nurse who pampered me when I needed it, to the evening nurse who used her craftiness to make a cup holder for me — to all of you I am forever grateful,” Pinsker’s story said.

She also wrote that she “twice transferred to Mass General, and although the care there was sufficient, I couldn’t compare those stays with my stays at SVMC.”

Magnet designation is widely considered the “gold standard” in patient care. The Magnet Recognition Program for excellence in nursing was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Independent research has documented what Magnet means for patients. Here are some examples: Magnet hospital patients experience lower mortality rates; Magnet hospital patients have shorter hospital stays because of improved care; Magnet hospitals report higher patient satisfaction rates; and in Magnet hospitals, nurses spend more time at their patients’ bedsides.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, a not-for-profit organization with a quest to make the communities it serves the healthiest in the nation.