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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Veterans Have Direct Input into Quality of Health Care

June 26, 2008

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Army veteran Rebecca Johnson (second from right), a member of the Nursing Leadership Council, voices her opinion during a recent meeting of the Nursing Leadership Council. “I believe this is an outstanding medical center, but there are many issues and questions I want to bring to the table on behalf of my fellow veterans.” Pictured from left, Marcella Louis, R.N., M.P.H., Quality Management director; Thelma Gray-Becknell, R.N., M.S.N., MEDVAMC chief nurse executive; Johnson; and Cynthia Andrus, R.N., Bar Code Medication Administration coordinator.
PHOTO: Bobbi Gruner, Public Affairs Officer


HOUSTON – The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) has formed two new nursing governance councils, the Nursing Leadership Council (NLC) and the Clinical Staff Council (CSC). The purpose of these councils is to ensure its patients continue to receive only the highest quality nursing care with access to the latest in nursing innovations and technology. Veterans play key roles and offer valuable insight as committee members on these councils.

Rebecca Johnson, a disabled U.S. Army veteran from the Vietnam Era who competes regularly in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, is a member of the newly formed Nursing Leadership Council (NLC).

The NLC is a committee for interaction between the chief nurse executive, care line nurse executives, associate chief, clinical practice, associate chief, nursing research, professional resources director, social work practice manager, education executive, advanced practice nurse, and clinical staff councils.

In other words, the NLC functions to ensure and facilitate resolution of issues brought to the council through multiple avenues. It is the approving board for all new or revised nursing practices and procedures for the MEDVAMC.

Ed Peniche, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran who served valiantly during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster medal, is a member of the Clinical Staff Council (CSC).

The CSC consists of clinical staff from each nursing unit at the MEDVAMC, this committee meets to discuss and review issues related to clinical practice, standards of patient care, patient outcomes, and research utilization.

“The continuous assessment, evaluation, and improvement of our nursing practice are essential in providing high quality, safe nursing care,” said Thelma Gray-Becknell, R.N., M.S.N., MEDVAMC chief nurse executive. “We encourage active participation from our veterans, their families, and our frontline staff in policy decisions that determine the professional nursing practice environment at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.”

American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s leading nursing credentialing organization, awarded its Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services to the MEDVAMC in August 2004. MEDVAMC was only the second VA hospital in the nation to achieve this recognition and joined fellow Texas Medical Center facilities, the Methodist Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, with this status.

Magnet is the highest honor a health care organization can receive for nursing services and was developed to recognize health care organizations that provide the best in quality patient care and uphold excellence in professional nursing practice.

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Dayton News (Texas)
Veterans have direct input into health care quality