Director of Nursing Earns Award for Excellence From American Psychiatric Nurses Association

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SAN LEANDRO, Calif., Oct. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH) today announced Judy Linn, Director of Nursing, will receive the annual Award for Excellence in Leadership from the American Psychiatric Nurse Association (APNA) at the group's 27th Annual Conference, October 9-12, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. The annual APNA Awards recognize nurses who exemplify excellence across the spectrum of psychiatric mental health nursing practice, including education, leadership, research, and innovation. It is considered one of the highest forms of recognition from the psychiatric mental health nursing community.

Linn is being honored for promoting an environment for her staff to be problem solvers who understand and advocate for patient and organizational goals. Using a variety of tools and programs, she has worked to increase staff skills in group leadership, behavioral care planning, and alternative interventions, which have led to increased patient satisfaction and staff engagement.

"People are invested in ideas that they generate. The leader's job is to create an environment where ideas flow and are shared and appreciated. A place where it is okay to try it out and regroup if it is not perfect the first time," Linn said. "Nurses are problem solvers and thinkers. Once they understand the why and the value to them and their patients, decisions get made and our collective effort grows."

"Judy has served as a source of empowerment for all of us working toward improvements to quality and experience of care at JGPH. We're thrilled APNA has recognized her work and accomplishments because it validates the collective effort of our staff to improve the lives of people affected by mental health issues," Guy Qvistgaard, JGPH Administrator said. "Not only have these efforts contributed to a drastic decrease in patient wait times, but to record improvements in patient satisfaction."

Over the last three years, JGPH has earned a spot among the top 25 percent of 255 psychiatric units and hospitals in the U.S. for patient satisfaction. Hospitals in this group include Harvard's McLean Psychiatric Hospital and Johns Hopkins, among others. During the same time period, the 69-bed facility, which has more than 1,200 psychiatric emergency visits per month and provides care for nearly 100 percent of all acute psychiatric emergencies in Alameda County, also saw the use of seclusion-restraint in treatments drop dramatically from 35 episodes to five per 1,000 patient days. Additionally, assaults by patients dropped an astounding 50 percent.

"Improving patient outcomes starts with simple things like a hot breakfast and clean sheets, and relating to patients as people with dignity," Linn continued. "Even when the situation seems hopeless, it's important that my team knows that I have faith in them. When the purpose is clear and constantly in mind, nurses will and do find a way to assist their patient."

About John George Psychiatric Hospital

John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH), located in San Leandro, California, is a member of Alameda Health System (AHS), a major public health care provider recognized as a world-class patient and family centered system of care. The facility provides psychiatric emergency and acute care services to adults experiencing severe and disabling mental illnesses, and treats all who seek care regardless of their economic or social status. JGPH provides care for nearly 100 percent of all acute psychiatric emergencies in Alameda County and is a leader in the use of data analytics to formulate effective care decisions and strategies.

A major economic force in Alameda County, AHS employs 3,200 people including over 500 physicians at seven facilities throughout the county. Besides John George, these include Highland Hospital, a major regional trauma center and teaching hospital; Fairmont Hospital, an acute rehabilitation hospital and skilled nursing facility, also in San Leandro; and four wellness centers in Oakland, Newark and Hayward.

CONTACT: Dan Virkstis (510) 437-5047 Kyle McGuire (925) 790-2788

Source:Alameda Health System