Nurses from Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

“At the end of the day, the Pathway designation says we are really an excellent hospital and that we are taking care of our patients.”

Gloucester, Va. – The lead nurse for Riverside Walter Reed Hospital will tell you straight up that she knows it sounds canned when she says it. The people make this place special. “But it’s true,” said Nurse Executive Gaynor Callis, MSN, RN of Riverside Walter Reed. “Our mission is to care for others as we would care for those we love. When you are in a community hospital like this you are actually doing that – both for our patients and each other.”

That care for fellow nurses, which translates into exceptional patient care, was recognized this month when Riverside Walter Reed achieved the Pathway to Excellence® designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It marks the second consecutive time Riverside Walter Reed on the Middle Peninsula has earned the designation. The designation substantiates nursing job satisfaction at Riverside Walter Reed and identifies it as one of the best places to work.

“At the end of the day, the Pathway designation says we are really an excellent hospital and that we are taking care of our patients,” said Jody Gayle, RN, a Wound Ostomy nurse at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. “When it’s all said and done, that’s what’s important. Our patients.”

The Pathway to Excellence designation is granted based on confirmed levels of achievement across six Practice Standards, including shared decision making, leadership, safety, quality, well-being and professional development.

“Nurses want to practice in a way that they can care for their patients,” Callis said. “They have to do all the structured things and check all the boxes to meet the regulations, but they want to go home feeling like they took care of the person.”

For an organization to earn the Pathway to Excellence distinction, it must successfully undergo a
thorough review process that documents foundational quality initiatives in creating a positive work
environment — as defined by nurses and supported by research.

“When we start pulling all the information together, looking at all the standards, this designation shows that the nurses here are driving to always make our practice of medicine better,” said Danielle Pittman, RN, a 14-year veteran of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Emergency Department and Special Procedures Unit.

These initiatives must be integrated in the facility’s practices, policies and culture. Nurses in the organization validate the presence of the criteria in the organization through participation in a completely voluntary and confidential online survey.

As a Pathway to Excellence designated organization, Riverside Walter Reed is committed to creating an environment where nurses excel and feel valued as integral members of interprofessional health care teams. This designation confirms to the public that nurses working at Riverside Walter Reed know their efforts are supported.

To put it simply, said Kim Harper, RN, Emergency Department and Care Management Director at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, “to me, Pathway to Excellence is a Designation given to us in recognition of how awesome our nurses are. Some designations you can get are more administratively given. The difference here is you have the nurses showing what they do every day. Pathway to Excellence is all-encompassing. It talks about not only the quality of care we provide the patients, but also what we do for each other as health care providers.”

Published: May 2, 2018