November 6, 2018

Becky Carter: Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Applies for Pathway to Excellence® Accreditation: What It Means for Our Nurses – and Our Community

By Becky Carter
President/CNO, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital

This month we will share important time and enjoy good food with family and friends as we kick off the holiday season. I’m grateful to share that on November 1, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital (BRRH) submitted our application for recognition as a Pathway to Excellence® hospital to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The designation means that we are a facility that does all it can – on every level – to support our nurses so they can grow in their careers through collaboration and education, practice in the safest environments and ensure that they care for themselves so that they are able to most effectively care for others. Pathway to Excellence® is similar to Magnet Recognition® for a healthcare organization, but more appropriate for smaller hospitals like BRRH. This is a big and significant step for us and we have been preparing for it for quite some time.

When a hospital is ready to apply for certification, it must meet rigorous standards, including demonstrating that nurses have numerous opportunities to excel in their work, to mentor and be mentored, and to work in leadership positions. It also means that nurses consistently have a voice in ensuring that the care their hospital provides is excellent and safely delivered, and that nurses are important members of interdisciplinary teams at the hospital and in the community. Adherence to the highest ethical standards must be shown to permeate nurses’ working environments, and nurses’ must have easy access to their hospital’s chief nursing officer.

One important component of the journey to becoming a Pathway to Excellence® hospital is completion of a detailed survey. Nursing staff members take the survey which asks them whether they feel that they have ample opportunities for education and advancement, a voice in decision making regarding everything from patient safety to hiring of staff and whether they feel that their workplace offers both safety for nursing staff and self-care support for nurses that measurably decreases the likelihood of professional burnout.

I’m very proud to report that we recently received the nursing survey results from our application. Importantly, a remarkable 98 percent of our nurses participated. Their feedback tells us – and the ANCC – that our nurses feel supported, encouraged to advance in their work and that they enjoy positive relationships with medical staff and administrators. Perhaps most importantly, the highest satisfaction score from our nurses came from the joy and gratitude they feel in working with each other as caregivers.

I care deeply about our nurses’ satisfaction at BRRH. Our application to receive the Pathway to Excellence® designation means that we’re doing everything we can to ensure that they know their work makes a profound and positive difference in the lives of their patients and their colleagues. Since our remarkable nurses are the front line leaders of our care team, you now understand why the care that they provide is so caring, special and patient-focused. If you get the chance, please join me in thanking a BRRH nurse; I hope you are as proud of them as I am.

Rebecca W. Carter, MSN, RN, FACHE, is President and Chief Nursing Officer of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine. Carter has served in senior hospital management for over 20 years and previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard, also a part of the Mission Health system. Carter is board certified in healthcare management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). A native of North Carolina, she holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carter is currently a resident of Burnsville.

To learn more about Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, visit