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The Path to Nursing Excellence in the LTC Sector

Karen Drenkard of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a solution provider at the marcus evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit Spring 2012, on developing nursing excellence.

Interview with: Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Executive Director, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)


A workplace environment that engages and inspires nurses has a direct, positive impact on nurse satisfaction and retention in long-term care (LTC) facilities, says Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Executive Director, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This positive practice environment also improves patient satisfaction, safety, and quality outcomes, she adds.

From a solution provider at the marcus evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit Spring 2012 Drenkard shares key ideas for achieving the optimal nursing practice environment.

How can the quality of LTC be improved?

The viability of LTC organizations is increasingly based on quality: quality care, quality patient outcomes, and a quality nursing environment. It is essential that organizations focus on ways to create a practice environment where nurses can thrive.

The benefits of positive practice environments on patients, nurses, and organizations are well documented. They impact everything from nurse engagement and satisfaction to care delivery and patient outcomes.

It is also increasingly evident that wise investment in nursing services is the most effective way to achieve excellence. Studies show that positive practice environments ultimately save money – in the form of improved staff retention and decreased turnover, improved nurse and customer satisfaction, improved quality and safety, and superior business results.

The cost of replacing a nurse is high – anywhere from one to four times that of a nurse’s average salary. So LTC organizations that are able to improve nurse satisfaction and retain a high quality nursing staff realize a significant return on investment.

What is the Pathway to Excellence Program and the optimal nursing practice environment?

ANCC’s Pathway to Excellence® Program recognizes a healthcare organization’s commitment to creating a positive nursing practice environment. At the program’s core are 12 practice standards that impact the quality of LTC.

Based on evidence and expert nurse input, the standards represent qualities that both nurses and researchers agree are critical to high quality nursing practice, professional development, and job satisfaction. They include shared governance and collaborative multi-disciplinary decision-making at all levels, autonomy in practice, a safe and healthy work environment, professional development opportunities, fair compensation, work-life balance, and an organizational commitment to quality improvement and evidence-based practice.

Some features that make the Pathway to Excellence Program unique include: benefits to nurses (recognizing what is important to nursing practice, demonstrating to the community a commitment to nurses and their practice and inviting nurses to join their colleagues in a desirable and nurturing environment) and benefits to patients (improved unit effectiveness, quality patient care impact by the nurse’s ability to problem solve, collaborate and handle conflict, and patient safety outcomes – influenced by the quality of a nurse’s work environment, mediated with burnout and engagement).

This results in a person-centered model of care.

What changes do you predict for the LTC sector?

Our growing aging population will fundamentally transform LTC delivery over the next 30 years. Up to a third of the population will soon be over 55, and the demand for LTC will increase dramatically. We must work now to create the positive practice environments and care delivery models that will prepare us to meet the needs of an aging population with chronic disease.
As we look forward, we see an emerging community of LTC organizations that extends around the world and a new generation of global “gold standards” that guide quality patient care. Having engaged and dedicated nurses is the key to making this vision a reality.

Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the Long-Term Care CXO Summit Spring 2012

Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on the Health Care Reform, innovative quality improvement, and staff recruitment and retention strategies.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website

marcus evans group - healthcare sector portal 

Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

The mission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), is to promote excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs. ANCC’s internationally renowned credentialing programs certify and recognize individual nurses in specialty practice areas; recognize healthcare organizations for promoting safe, positive work environments; and accredit continuing nursing education organizations.

For more information:

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit 


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