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Letter from a Fan of St. Luke's Nurses

Letter from a Fan of St. Luke's Nurses

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
June 16, 2015
Today, my guest blogger is Cy Gearhard, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care for the West Region of St. Luke’s Health System. In Cy’s post, she writes about our upcoming Magnet® site visit and what being a Magnet® hospital means to us.

I have long been a huge supporter of nursing. During my medical training, it didn’t take long for me to realize that nurses could teach me a lot and that I gave my patients better care when the nurse was at the bedside with me and we could approach the care of the patient as a team.

I understood that while I was with the patient perhaps 15 minutes out of the day, the nurses were with the patient all 24 hours.

When I got out into practice, I realized the value of a nurse in my office whose judgment I completely trusted and who could read my mind when it came to sharing recommendations with our patients and determining when a patient needed to be seen and when other measures would work just fine.

When I got into hospital and later health system administration, I really saw that nurses played integral roles in so many areas in addition to traditional nursing roles: case management, infection control, employee health, quality management, transfer center, legal services, patient education, performance improvement, informatics, just to name a few—and in many different care sites – hospitals, clinics, physician offices, patients’ homes (home health and hospice), ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, and helicopters!

Nursing practice also has expanded to include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse anesthetists, certified nurse specialists, advance nurse practitioners, and most recently, doctors of nursing practice. Back in the Dark Ages, I couldn’t imagine seeing a nurse practitioner. Now I see a nurse practitioner and I can’t imagine not continuing to see her! I am a huge supporter of advance nurse practitioners as part of the patient care team and I have seen the value that they add to my own care and that of our patients.

I realized that there was something special about Magnet® hospitals earlier in my career in Houston. Besides the higher quality and patient safety in Magnet® hospitals, I saw the commitment to nursing research, continuing education, and the attainment of advanced degrees and certifications, and I observed the power of shared governance.

As I wrote in the chapter, “Perspectives on Nursing Leadership: From a Physician Chief Executive Officer,” in the book, Nursing Leadership From the Outside In, “When I was first contacted about an opportunity to lead [St. Luke’s Health System], the first thing I did was to go online to ensure that the flagship hospital was a Magnet®-designated hospital – it was. I honestly would not have engaged in the search process if it was not.”

To all our nurses and staff that will be participating in the site survey – just show your excellence. I know that the Magnet® standards and requirements have gotten tougher every redesignation cycle, but I also know that you have gotten better every year.

I have trusted St. Luke’s nurses with my own care, my wife’s care, and the care of my daughters and my grandchildren. You all are the best, and you demonstrate it every day in your care and your caring. Thank you for all that you do for St. Luke’s and our patients.

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., previously served as president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009 and retired in 2020. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.