Congratulations are in order for The University of Texas Medical Branch for two significant recent honors.

As we reported last week, the medical branch has been recognized as one of the top medical centers in the country for quality and safety performance.

The medical branch received a five-star rating in the Vizient Quality and Accountability Study, a ranking that has been released annually since 2005.

The rating means the medical branch is one of a small number of hospitals to receive the Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award.

The rating puts the medical branch on a very short list along with the likes of the Mayo Clinic.

“It is an honor to see UTMB listed among other leading academic medical centers across the nation striving to provide top quality care to all patients,” said medical branch President David Callender.

“We continuously work to set new standards of health care quality and safety, and it is gratifying to see the tremendous efforts of our faculty and staff recognized in this manner.”

The annual rankings are published by Vizient, a national network of nonprofit hospitals and academic medical centers.

The medical branch was ranked No. 76 last year. This year, the medical branch was ranked No. 9.

Medical branch officials attributed the high ranking to changes made by administrators over the past year. The changes were meant to make treatments at the medical branch more patient-centered, timely, safe and effective, they said.

Then on Wednesday, the medical branch was again recognized for meeting the highest standards of nursing by meeting the criteria of the Magnet Recognition Program that distinguishes health care organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence.

This status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center is the highest honor for professional nursing practice, medical branch officials said.

This is the second consecutive time the medical branch has received the distinguished status since 2012.

“I am so proud of the health care team at UTMB,” said David Marshall, the medical branch’s chief nursing and patient care services officer. “Our dedicated nurses, physicians, caregivers and hospital staff collaborate every day to provide the highest level of quality and experience to those we serve.”

Magnet recognition signifies that UTMB nursing staff meet high standards of patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in professional nursing practice. The coveted status is based on quality indicators and standards of nursing practice.

The medical branch is one of 468 U.S. health care organizations out of more than 6,300 to achieve Magnet recognition.

Hospitals applying for recognition must provide an environment that empowers nurses, values their contributions and supports nursing leadership.

Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the UTMB Health System, explains what Magnet recognition means for the medical branch.

“Upholding the highest standards of nursing has always been a proud tradition at UTMB. Every day we hear from our patients about how our nurses make a difference in their lives, and it is this consistent delivery of high-quality care that lets our patients know that no matter where they are within our health system, they are being cared for by the very best.”

According to the ANCC, Magnet health care facilities consistently deliver better patient outcomes than non-Magnet facilities and report higher nurse retention, recruitment and job satisfaction rates.

Congratulations to the medical branch faculty, staff and students for these noteworthy achievements.

• Editorial board

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com

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