Singapore General Hospital is the first in Asia to receive the Magnet accreditation, the highest accolade for nursing excellence and leadership
AN ERUPTION of noise is not something any hospital would tolerate.
But the Singapore General Hospital SGH) made an exception when a large gathering of its nurses and other staff broke out into lusty cheers at 9am on the hospital’s ninth floor void deck on April 27 this year.
The reason: the hospital had just received an overseas call from the prestigious American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) that it had earned the Magnet accreditation — the highest institutional honour
for nursing excellence and leadership.
❛The appraisal by the US team was stringent, intensive and exhaustive.
— Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, director of nursing❜
This places SGH among the elite group of the top five per cent of hospitals in the world to earn this coveted recognition, along with renowned health-care institutions such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Duke University Hospital.
This achievement is also noteworthy for Singapore, not just for the hospital, as SGH is the only one in Asia to be Magnet-accredited.
A four-member high-level delegation from ANCC flew in to make on-site appraisals of SGH’s operations from Feb 1 to 4 this year, says Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, the hospital’s director of nursing.
Magnet refers to the ability of a recognised organisation to attract and retain professional nurses and attract patients who seek top quality health-care.
ANCC established 14 Forces of Magnetism that it felt defined an exceptional hospital.
These revolve around creating an environment that supports nursing practice, professional autonomy and decision-making at the bedside.
It also includes staff involvement in determining their work environment, personal education, career development
Of the ANCC recognition, Prof Lim says: “It was like striking an Olympic gold.”
The appraisal, she recalls, was stringent, intensive and exhaustive. The team from the United States was at the hospital at 7.30 am to have breakfast with the night nurses who had gone off duty.
“They also selected other nurses for lunch. They talked to our doctors and allied health-care workers.
“They wanted to see evidence of staff engagement, inter-disciplinary working relationships and how staff from different ethnic backgrounds work together. They also looked into patient satisfaction.
“Patients and the public were also invited to give their feedback direct to the assessors via a designated email address.”
The accreditation will push SGH to improve further on staff development and patient care, Prof Lim adds.
For example, SGH recently completed a programme, Nurse Charting, an online documentation featuring regularly updated data on patients.
This does away with clipboard notes used previously. All updated patient information are accessible at any time.
“Magnet is also about how we engage staff,” says Prof Lim.
“We believe in shared governance. We get junior nurses to chair working committees. And the young nurses feel so proud to contribute.”
One of them, Mr Muhammad Hafiz bin Hadi, 25, a male nurse, was picked to be the guide to the visiting Americans.
He says: “Normally such a job is given to a senior hospital staff but I felt honoured to do it. It shows SGH trusts its young workers.”
Ms Rosalind Siah, 27, a senior staff nurse, says that staff morale in her ward shot up when SGH was working towards Magnet.
“We felt that our hard work was appreciated.” Mr Nidu Maran, 34, an advanced practice nurse, says: “The Magnet award reflects the empowerment given to our ground nurses as agents of change.”
To the 3,300 nurses and allied healthcare workers in SGH, Prof Lim says: “I thank them for their dedication and teamwork. I am also grateful to our senior management for their support and contributions.”
Singapore has Asia’s best nursing school
Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is not the only SingHealth institution to have been awarded nursing honours by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing (IAN) was accredited by ANCC in 2007 as a Continuing
Nursing Education Provider.
IAN is the first such institute in Asia, and only the third outside the United States, to receive this recognition for its high-quality continuing education programmes for nurses and para-nursing staff.
The nursing institute, established in 1997, provides a comprehensive range of nursing specialisation programmes and practice-based training to groom the competence of nurses locally and in the region.
To earn accreditation from ANCC, the institute had to undergo a rigorous assessment and evaluation process.
This covers setting goals that are relevant to students, having an established process for assessing needs,
planning, implementation and evaluation as well as possessing sufficient human, material and financial resources.
The institute must also ensure that feedback is properly documented and used to enhance its activities which must be of high professional standards.
Says SGH’s director of nursing, Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia: “Gunning for accreditation with an internationally recognised credentialing centre has enabled us to benchmark our training programmes and processes against international standards.
“SingHealth will continue to explore ways to expand the scope of nursing careers and enhance nursing capabilities for the benefit of our patients.”