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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (St. Vincent Infirmary)- It is official. St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock is the first and only hospital in Arkansas to earn The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition designation. The ANCC Magnet Recognition ProgramĀ®, honors hospitals for excellence in nursing in leadership, clinical practice, innovations and positive outcomes. There are currently only 395 magnet designated organizations in the world.

"This is a historic day for St. Vincent. This is also a monumental day for nursing and health care in Arkansas. There is no higher honor in nursing and quality patient care than to meet the nation's highest standards set forth by the ANCC in the Magnet Recognition Program. Our nurses and nursing leaders deserve all the credit for demonstrating outstanding patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in nursing practice," said Peter D. Banko, President & CEO St. Vincent Health System. "St. Vincent is celebrating its 125 year in serving this community. This recognition is a great tribute to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the legacy of healing that we continue today. We're honored to be among the few in the country and the only in Arkansas who have earned Magnet designation."

The Magnet application process began at St. Vincent Infirmary in April 2011. More than a year later, on June 1, 2012, thousands of pages of documentation were submitted to the ANCC to demonstrate that St. Vincent Infirmary meets the stringent requirements to earn an ANCC Magnet designation. Finally last month, St. Vincent Infirmary was the first hospital in the state to host a site visit of ANCC appraisers to verify the documentation. The appraisers met with nurses, physicians, hospital leaders, staff from other disciplines in the hospital and community members during the three - day visit. Then Thursday, January 17, St. Vincent received an ANCC call announcing that St. Vincent Infirmary has earned Magnet designation based on excellence in nursing.

"It has been a long process with the help of very dedicated nurses to get us to this point," said Brenda Baird, Vice President & Chief Nurse Executive for St. Vincent Health System. "Our legacy at St. Vincent is that the patient comes first! Our nurses have a voice in what processes are in place to care for patients and evidence based practice, the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of our patients, is at the heart of the high quality care at St. Vincent Infirmary," Baird said. "Magnet status is a benchmark for families to consider when looking for quality care for their healthcare needs. Quality care is right here in Arkansas at St. Vincent Infirmary," Baird added.

Magnet designation is recognized by US News & World Report as a primary indicator in its assessment of nearly 5,000 hospitals when ranking and reporting the best medical centers in America. Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the nation's oldest survey, compares hospital performance in safety, quality and efficiency. Leapfrog automatically awards hospitals with Magnet designation full credit for a commitment to staffing with highly trained nurses and putting nurses in leadership positions that allow them substantial input on patient safety issues.

About Catholic Health Initiatives: Catholic Health Initiatives is a national nonprofit health system with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 76 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2012, CHI provided more than $715 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. CHI, with total annual revenues of nearly $10 billion, is the nation's second-largest Catholic health care system.

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