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Hospice of Dayton, Inc Wins Pathway to Excellence Award

Nurses recognized for exceptional commitment to care.

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton is the first hospice and palliative care facility to receive the Pathway to Excellence designation. This designation, awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), recognizes healthcare facilities that have positive work environments where nurses can thrive.

"The nursing staff at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton is passionate about their work," said Mary E. Murphy RN, ACHPN, AOCN, chief nursing and care officer at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton. "They excel in their knowledge of end-of-life care and show the deepest respect, compassion and care for our patients and families."

Building a Successful Facility

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton has been a place of care since the start. Founded in 1978 by Better Schmoll, RN, the facility was one of the first in the country to offer hospice care. With aid from the community and local hospitals, service was provided in patient homes and in 13 inpatient beds at local St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

In 1990, Dayton was able to build a Hospice House thanks to generous donations from nearly 14,000 residents and companies. As an added benefit of the Hospice House, patients are able to visit any time and are provided with short-term symptom management care and medical support.

Now, 38 years since the facility's creation, the nursing staff is being honored for their dedication, hard work and continued quality care.

"Recognition of such magnitude supports our mission and encourages our nursing staff to continue to promote a positive work environment where their contributions are valued and respected," Murphy said.

Earning the Designation

The Pathway to Excellence designation is awarded once a healthcare or long-term care facility meets 12 practice standards, including having a safe working environment, strong professional development support, competitive wages, recognition for professional achievement, and evidence-based practice focused on patient outcomes and quality, among other qualifications.

Recipients of the award are selected based on the organization's nurses: The nursing staff voluntarily answers a confidential survey. According to ANCC, the answers enable nurses to validate the facility's submitted application, data and evidence. ANCC Pathway representatives believe this is a critical step in the selection process, "exemplifying the theme of empowering and giving nurses a voice."

In the United States, 134 hospitals have been awarded this designation. Ohio's Hospice of Dayton is the first hospice care facility to earn it. Facilities that have earned the Pathway to Excellence designation demonstrate improved nurse satisfaction, higher retention rates of choice nursing staff and leaders, interprofessional teamwork, high-quality nursing practice and business growth.

Hard Work Pays Off

"All of our nurses have an opportunity to have a voice in the decision-making of their settings through shared decision-making councils," Murphy said. She added that the Dayton environment is supportive and encouraging toward each of its nurses.

The hospice facility strives to provide strong orientation, preceptor programs and promotion of certification, professional development and recognition for professional achievement, as well as strong nursing leadership in order to help its nurses excel.

Murphy added that the nurses at the hospice are dedicated to the facility's mission to provide superior care and service. "We continually seek methods to provide our nursing staff with opportunities to grow and contribute towards excellence in nursing care," she said.

Autumn Heisler is a staff writer. Contact her at

Photo caption: 
Staff member Dena Wenzler, RN, CHPN, comforts a patient at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton.

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