Gary J. Passama, President and Chief Executive Officer of NorthBay Healthcare System since 1981, is a veteran of more than 40 years in Northern California health care. He has served as faculty and speaker for programs of the American Hospital Association, Hospital Council of Northern California and the Medical Group Management Association. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

No Matter What | Main | Winona Not Ryder

What Needs to be Said

Nurses at NorthBay Healthcare use what is called a "professional nursing practice model." Not every health care provider does. Not all are capable of approaching nursing as a professional endeavor. Many organizations use what I call an industrial or factory model.

It's an important distinction to keep in mind when choosing where you get health care.

We call what we do the "Art and Science of Caring" and we express it in "relationship-based care." That's a little jargony, but basically it comes down to ensuring the patient and family are the focal point.

NorthBay's Patient Care Services Division publishes an annual report which I look forward to reading every year. Full disclosure: Some of the following wording is taken verbatim from the report. There is no sin in being a blogger - and a plagiarist - as long as your source is a NorthBay document!

MAGNET DESIGNATION: We have been on the road to achieving designation as a "magnet" for nursing. (Sorry, back in the jargon mode.) This is the mark of distinction for professional nursing. Less than 5 percent of hospitals achieve this designation. We applied late last year to the American Nursing Credentialing Center for Magnet Designation. We are compiling the required documentation and data to meet the criteria for designation. We plan to submit it all early next year and await the final step in the process: a site visit. We will have a grand party when that designation is achieved!

HEART & VASCULAR CENTER: Our STEMI program (patients exhibiting heart attack symptoms) has been growing steadily and has achieved significant results. NorthBay Medical Center is Solano's most complete hospital when it comes to advanced cardiac care and interventions. Door-to-balloon time is how long it takes to treat a heart attack patient from the time he or she arrives at the hospital to the time the coronary vessels are open. The national standard is 90 minutes, but NorthBay's average time is 58 minutes, far exceeding this benchmark. As they say in cardiac care, time is muscle.

TRAUMA: We are by far Solano's busiest and most experienced Level III trauma center. The quality of NorthBay's program was confirmed in a December American College of Surgeons' (ACS) verification survey. Our program had no deficiencies and the ACS surveyors encouraged a move to Level II designation, which is now under way.

HAPPY TOGETHER: That was the actual title of one section in the report and with good reason. NorthBay annually conducts a nurse satisfaction survey provided by the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI). Both NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital easily exceeded the NDNQI average of comparison hospitals. A statistic which caught my eye revealed our turnover rate last year for registered nurses was less than half that of the California average. The precise NorthBay turnover rate was a miniscule 1 percent.

There are many other areas of achievement which space and perhaps your patience span do not allow for elaboration.

The report is not a smug back-scratching effort. It recognized areas where we want to do better. That's part of the professional model of nursing and the NorthBay Way -- never satisfied and always striving to be better.

Well done, NorthBay nurses and patient care providers, and congratulations.