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At its core, Remaking American Medicine is a glimpse into the type of health care we can all have. It is about the pioneering work of providers, patients and their families, private purchasers, government agencies and others committed to making health care in America safe, evidence-based, efficient and effective. We call these people and organizations Champions of Change. Because there are many more stories about these groups and individuals than can be told in a four hour television series we’ll be featuring them here and in other areas of the Web site. Learning from others is an important aspect in the drive to remake American medicine. At the conclusion of each Champion of Change story is contact information provided for follow up.


Helping Ensure That Nurses Provide The Best Care

Ann Benson

Ann Benson
, MBA, is the Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV. Her position carries many responsibilities including oversight of the daily staffing, nursing program development and assisting the CEO in daily operations. But her most important job is ensuring the quality, safety and competence of all nurses.

Since arriving at Summerlin a year ago, Ms. Benson has raised the standards of nursing care and added valuable hospital services that have benefited the organization and the community. New services include the opening of a Pediatric Emergency Department a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a comprehensive Cardiology Program including Open Heart Surgery and the opening of a Women’s Center.

To increase nursing competency and staff satisfaction, Ms. Benson has hired a number of Clinical Specialists for the Critical Care and Medical/Surgical areas and added an Education Specialist to meet the special needs of the support department. She has created new positions on the nursing leadership team to increase efficiency and solidify the patient flow process as well as meeting critical training needs.

Through her hard work, Ms. Benson has raised the bar for nurses by offering the educational opportunities they need to succeed. She initiated the Magnet Journey Recognition Program, developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center that recognizes institutions with a proven record of excellence in nursing care. These programs have measurably increased patient satisfaction, as well as nursing satisfaction and retention. Since these improvements, the nursing turnover rate is less than 3%.

Despite a national nursing shortage, Ann has developed initiatives to recruit and retain nurses. These include: flexible scheduling, pay for performance and rewards programs for service excellence.

Despite long hours spent on the job, she finds time mentoring the nursing team into future leaders and frequently provides them rich training experiences to develop their knowledge of nursing administration.

Because of her dedication to nursing education and better patient services at Summerlin Hospital, Ann Benson has improved the quality of health care within
the hospital setting and the community. Because of her success and the accomplishments of the entire executive team, the hospital will be building another inpatient tower to meet the needs of the hospital’s community.

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