Healthy Work Environment


A team effort: Creating a culture of caring

Healthy Work Environments are important to the welfare of nurses, for successful recruitment and retention and for the quality and safety of patients. Adapting the standards for a healthy work environment from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Sentara nurses created and sustain a healthy work environment where staff can flourish. Nurse leaders use an innovative visual tool to identify areas of focus for their teams to continue to improve. Legacy mapping, or career planning, mentoring, and opportunities for growth are part of the culture of Sentara nursing. Professional nurses appreciate working for a health system that values their contributions and allows them to be part of finding solutions to new challenges. This was clearly shown in the 2019 Nursing Satisfaction Survey in which Sentara nurses outperformed the national benchmarks.  Thank you to our nurses who do so much and support Sentara’s mission of improving health every day. We appreciate your confidence in us as a health system committed to excellence.

Nurse Satisfaction Scores Outperform Benchmarks

In the most recent survey, nurses’ feedback outperformed satisfaction scores over all benchmarks in comparison categories. We exceeded the National Nursing Excellence averages in all seven categories:

  • Adequacy of resources and staffing
  • Autonomy
  • Fundamentals of quality nursing care
  • Interprofessional relationships
  • Leadership access and responsiveness
  • Professional development
  • RN-to-RN teamwork and collaboration

Clinical Manager for Anticoagulation Services, Sentara Medical Group

“I have a great mentor in my boss, and I want to do the same for the nurses on my team. I’m big on them having a say. My job is to serve them, so they can best serve our patients. As we look at new ways to better help people, all of the nurses here are on board and know they’ve been heard.”

The Gold Standard of Hospitals: Magnet® Recognition

The Magnet® credentialing process is a roadmap to advance nursing achievement. It honors health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation. 

  • Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital (2006, 2011, 2016)
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (2008, 2014, 2018)
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center (2014, 2019)
  • Sentara RMH Medical Center (2014, 2019)
  • Sentara Leigh Hospital (2015)
  • Sentara Princess Anne Hospital (2016)
  • Sentara CarePlex Hospital (2017)
  • Sentara Obici Hospital (2018)
  • Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital (2019)

This list represents 75% of Sentara Healthcare hospitals, a remarkable accomplishment given that just 8% of hospitals worldwide have Magnet® status.

Director of Patient Care Services, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
Colleen was also a member of the team that led efforts to secure Magnet® recognition in 2019.

“Striving to earn Magnet® is a team effort. While preparing for it, we strengthened our shared decision-making and improved care with evidence-based practices. Nurses felt empowered and so proud that we were recognized for quite a few exemplars, a rare accomplishment. It’s validation for the exceptional care we deliver.”

Beacon Award for Excellence

This award is reserved for nursing units who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award meet national criteria consistent with Magnet® recognition. Congratulations to the Sentara units that earned this honor as of December 2019.

  • SPAH ICU—Gold
  • SNGH Special Care Nursery—Silver
  • SNGH Vascular ICU—Silver
  • SNGH Burn Trauma Neuro ICU—Silver
  • SCH ICU—Silver
  • SNGH Cardiac ICU—Silver
  • SNGH Advanced Heart Failure Unit—Silver
  • SNGH 4 HH Cardiac Surgical Intermediate Care—Bronze
  • SNGH Cardiac Surgery Acute Care Unit—Silver
  • SNGH 5 HH Cardiac Medicine Intermediate Care—Silver
  • SNGH CSICU—Silver

DAISY Awards: Nurses Commending Commitment

Started just over 20 years ago, DAISY Awards are nurse-nominated recognitions. They honor colleagues for above-and-beyond care that impacts outcomes and patients’ well-being. Sentara coordinates with the DAISY Foundation, first accepting nominations on each division’s website. We encourage our nurses to continue celebrating each other in 2020. 

Clinical Nurse Manager, Admit/Recovery and PACU, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
Melissa was one of the nurses who led a WebEx talk as part of the Sentara Clinical Nurse Manager 2019 Virtual Mentorship Series, “Reflections From The Other Side Of The Bed.”

“….whether you’re a new nurse manager or one with 20 years experience, you have something to contribute. Preparing for a lead mentor talk, I reflected on my relatively short time as a manager, and I saw how we’ve developed strong relationships on our team. We’ve brought about cohesive growth through brainstorming, providing feedback and having fun.”

New Mentoring Connections

Mentoring can be a strong force in shaping a nurse’s professional identity. The satisfaction of helping a fellow colleague occurs when the more experienced nurse mentor assists the less experienced nurse mentee in growing and maturing in their nursing specialty. Mentoring expands a nurse’s knowledge and arms them with confidence to improve care and ultimately patient outcomes. In 2019, we introduced the Sentara Clinical Nurse Virtual Mentorship series “Reflections From The Other Side Of The Bed,” a voluntary program for clinical nurse managers. The lunchtime, virtual forums bring together managers for a discussion led by a colleague with a unique perspective. Topics included:

  • Work/life balance as a nurse manager
  • Holding staff accountable; moving from peer
    to leader
  • Renewing energy when your team has lost theirs
  • Giving a difficult performance review
  • Managing your endless “to-do” list
  • Building your team; finding the right fit
  • Building engagement; knowing what your team wants (legacy mapping)
  • Taking a team from low to high
  • Preparing and responding to your Members of the Team staff engagement results
  • When your team and you hit rock bottom; building your team back up
Sentara Nursing Report