Nursing Service exceeds 1,300 diverse and dedicated members from aides and LVNs to RNs and advance practice nurses across our integrated care delivery system. Their knowledge provides, guides, and influences care, research, policies, and innovations both locally and nationally. As the largest work group, they improve the quality and experience of care for Veterans, caregivers, staff and communities by demonstrating our ICARE values, Nursing Code of Ethics, current professional standards and evidence-based practices.
Strategic Plan: Journey to Excellence Launch
In 2018 VA Long Beach Nursing Service set a goal to apply the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet framework for nursing excellence to improve work environments, work culture, and outcomes for staff and veterans.
Organizations that embark on a journey to excellence using the Magnet framework take an average of eight to ten years to achieve designation. Though ultimately designation is a goal, the value lies in the cultural transformation that occurs as structures and process are developed or strengthened and more nurses lead or engage in the improvement activities.
Prior to the pandemic, significant milestones were achieved including developing the nursing research program and nursing professional practice model (PPM). The PPM describes VA Long Beach Nurses through this symbolic image:
Nursing Journey to Excellence
Each year staff attend ANCC’s National Magnet Conference to learn the requirements and how nurses are achieving excellence for their patients and peers. This year’s cohort returned inspired and are leading or engaged in various improvement projects to advance the journey.
Shared Governance Decision-Making Structure
VA Long Beach Nurses have a long history of shared decision-making with opportunities to serve on system-wide decision-making committees including the Patient Fall Prevention committee, Injury Prevention Interprofessional committee, Nurse Practice Council, Nursing Professional Development committee and many more.
In 2023, over 150 leaders and staff participated in workshops to learn, reaffirm, strengthen, and advance Nursing’s shared decision-making structure. Since then, 41 Unit Practice Councils (UPCs) have formed with a clinical nurse (CN) leading as the Chair partnering with their supervisor as their servant leader, advocate, and mentor.
Today, nurses have many opportunities to use their voice and expertise to engage in improvements for their units and the facility. Plus, as the largest healthcare system in the nation; many also participate in regional and national level committees, providing them opportunities to impact even more nurses and veterans – the most deserving patient population.
VA Long Beach nurses are supported in their professional development from new graduate RNs to those preparing to sunset their careers. All are encouraged to demonstrate life-long learning and enjoy free contact hours through VHA’s online learning system to maintain their license.
Many choose to advance their nursing degree or license and/or achieve one or more board certifications in their area(s) of expertise and enjoy the medical center’s compensatory awards.
Various methods are available to support its nurses’ professional development including flexible schedules, a Transition-to-Practice program New Grad RN Residency, Preceptor, Mentor, and Emerging Leader programs, simulation activities, scholarships, and academic affiliations with many schools both local and around the nation.
Recognition: The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses
VA Long Beach Nurses go above and beyond every day to provide patients and families excellent clinical care and compassion. One way they’re honored is by showing gratitude for all they do with the DAISY Award program.
This program elevates and celebrates nurses by collecting nominations from patients, family members, other care team members or staff who experience or observe extraordinarily compassionate care being provided by a nurse assistant (NA), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), or certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA). The nominations are blinded and reviewed by an internal committee who scores then selects the winner’s based on the DAISY criteria, compassion, and VA mission and values demonstrated.
Every nomination is meaningful recognition for the nurse who receives it from a grateful patient, family member, or co-worker. All nominated nurses receive a special DAISY Nominee pin and a note from leadership.
DAISY honorees are selected quarterly, and a celebration is held that includes the Honoree’s peers, leadership, nominator, and sometimes their friends and family. Each Honoree receives a certificate, a DAISY portfolio, a beautiful hand-carved Healer’s Touch Sculpture from Zimbabwe, an Honoree pin, a congratulations banner to hang in their unit, a copy of their nomination, a gift bag, and cinnamon rolls to share with peers. Honorees are added to the DAISY website where they are eligible for numerous professional development, education, and wellness benefits.
Annual VA Long Beach Nursing Excellence Awards
Each year leaders and staff nominate Nursing staff who consistently demonstrate excellence. One winner per nursing role (NA, LVN, RN, NP or CRNA) is selected and receives a recognition certificate and monetary award by executive leadership at a celebration event. Then they advance to compete with other winners at the regional and national levels.
DAISY Nurse Leader Award
The DAISY Nurse Leader Award shines a light on those who don’t typically have direct patient care as part of their role and who create an environment where compassionate, skillful care thrives. This annual award recognizes a Nurse Chief, Deputy Nurse Chief, Nurse Manager, Assistant Manager, Charge Nurse, Educator, ADPCS, DADPCS, Preceptor, Informatics Nurse, or a Patient Flow Nurse.
Nominations are typically from their staff who describe the positive impact these leaders have on their ability to provide quality, compassionate care. The recipient receives a DAISY Nurse Leader certificate, a DAISY portfolio, a DAISY pin, a banner to hang in their department, and a Healer’s Touch sculpture designated for Nurse Leaders. The honorees and their stories of compassionate leadership are registered with The DAISY Foundation and shared on the DAISY website
Nursing Team Award
The DAISY Team Award recognizes that while an idea to achieve better patient and family outcomes may start with one individual, it often takes an entire team to implement successfully. This award is offered annually to honor collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and/or patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of Nursing. The Team receives a special DAISY Team Award plaque, customized with the Team's Name, a personalized DAISY Team Award certificate, portfolio, and DAISY Team Award pin.
Celebrating VA Long Beach Nurse’s During Nurses Month
The impact Nurses make on the health of veterans and their families is unparalleled. VA Long Beach celebrates and recognizes it’s nurses each May for their commitment to co-creating a “Best Place to Work” culture and for striving for excellent outcomes for its Veterans. An internal nurse committee plans and coordinates a variety of activities designed to build teamwork, ignite the spirit of inquiry, infuse self-care, recognize, reward, and showcase their noteworthy achievements.
Annual New Knowledge and Innovations Poster Fair
This annual fun activity is hosted during Nurse’s Week to support the Spirit of Inquiry culture. It provides nurses an opportunity to disseminate the outcomes from their quality-improvement, evidence-based practice (EBP), research, and/or innovation projects via 2-minute poster presentations. Staff are mentored throughout the year from idea to dissemination then provided a fun celebratory environment to share their accomplishments.
The event grows bigger and better each year. This year featured a tie-die dress-up theme, an all nursing band that provided danceable entertainment, chalk art provided by the Transportation team, and 20+ tables/booths hosted by enthusiastic nurses sharing information or education about their project or program, plus games, food, and activities to advance attendees’ learning.