2 West is the Best! - South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
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South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)

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2 West is the Best!

The group of nurses that work in Unit 2 West at the South Texas VA

Unit 2 West Nursing Staff at the South Texas VA

By Joseph R. Greiner
Thursday, July 8, 2021

Leadership, teamwork, and the pursuit of positive outcomes.

These principals are the basis of every nursing team on the planet.

Whether the nursing staff in question work on a battlefield or in an elementary school, these principals are the bedrock of the entire vocation.

At the South Texas VA, the 2 West surgical nursing team take these responsibilities seriously and as a result, have been awarded the coveted PRISM award, bestowed only on the highest achieving med-surge units in the nation.

The PRISM (Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg) award is awarded jointly by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB).

Recipients of the PRISM award must be Med-Surg units that show continuous excellence in a variety of categories, such as effective leadership, positive patient outcomes, and a healthy practice environment, amongst others.

The 2 West unit not only met these categories but surpassed them with flying colors.

The inspection team noted that all but one of the categories to be reviewed were scored at an “advanced” level, and sections such as “Lifelong Learning” and “Leadership” were rated with near perfect scores.

“Unit 2 West knows how to build an effective team,” says Charmaine Mainor, Chief Nurse of Acute Care & Hemodialysis.

“The leadership and staff [of Unit 2 West] are deliberate in selecting the right candidates who exemplify excellence and are committed to the culture of teamwork which is evident across the all staff members working on 2 West.” 

This recognition is not only a bright spot for the South Texas VA, but for the entire VA system.

As of today, Unit 2 West at South Texas is the only VA Med-Surg floor to receive this distinction.

“It is an honor to have this team recognized at the national level and to be the first VA medical surgical unit to receive this distinction. It means Unit 2 West is a leader across VHA and all medical surgical units in the United States.” Says Mainor.   

The culture of teamwork and also a concept of ownership run deep in 2 West, and these tenets set it apart from other units across the Nation, says Darla Martinelli, the Nurse Manager for 2 West.

“It’s [the staff’s] unit and they recognize the good and the bad are a reflection of their nursing care. If staff have the mindset and understanding that what they do each shift impacts their veteran patients, it is a foregone conclusion that the unit is going to excel.”

But this award seems to verify what the members of 2 West have already known.

“Once we decided to go for it and we researched the application process, I could see that we mostly met or exceeded the requirements of the application,” says Martinelli.

“Really, what I’ve told the team is that this recognition is just a more formal and public way of recognizing what we already knew about the unit, and that is that 2 West is the Best!”


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