Professional Development, Patient Experience, and Volunteers

Our goal is to provide high-quality care and personalized attention from the time a patient enters our facility, through their follow-up, to ensure that their expectations and health goals are being met.

South County Health continues to achieve exceptional ratings from patients for the positive experience they receive.

With 1,581 employees in FY2021, South County Health is one of the largest employers in Washington County. For a fifth year, we have been named among the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America. This award recognizes people-first organizations that take a proactive approach to employee health and drive innovation throughout the organization.

Nurse Residency Program

Twelve new graduates participated in the Nurse Residency program where they received paid, experiential learning in a hospital setting. This 12-month program is designed to attract and retain qualified nurses, providing them with additional training and experience in patient care.

Nursing Assistant Student Program

In FY2021, South County Health piloted a Certified Nursing Assistant Student program – the first in Rhode Island – combining classroom education through our nursing educators, along with hands-on experience. Six students were hired and enrolled in the eight-week program. Upon successful completion of the program, the students transition to full-time nursing assistants. This program was funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Supporting Continuing Education

Eighty-four employees took advantage of South County Health’s Tuition Reimbursement program to pursue educational goals and advance their careers.

Well Beyond

South County Health’s Well Beyond program is designed to motivate and reward staff for being proactive toward their physical and emotional health and well-being.

  • 766 benefit-eligible staff and 170 spouses participated in the Well Beyond program.
  • 654 eligible staff engaged in health coaching sessions with Preventive Health and Weight Management given as the top coaching categories.
  • 547 eligible staff completed an Advanced Health Assessment.
  • 99% of participating staff responded that they strongly agreed or agreed they were satisfied with the Well Beyond program for health screenings, health education, and coaching.

The inclusion of the employer-sponsored Well Beyond program for staff earned recognition for South County Health among the 2021 Healthiest Employers (ranked 1 of 30 in RI and 43 of 1,000 nationally)

and the 2021 Worksite Health Exemplary Award from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI. South County Health has received the highest designation — Exemplary — since 2008.

Staff Support

To ensure that staff are not only trained, but have the opportunity to express their concerns objectively and without judgment, staff-centric programs are in place to open lines of communication and de-escalate any stressful situations.

Schwartz Center Rounds

Schwartz Center Rounds are scheduled throughout the year, focusing on topics that are relevant in the healthcare environment. In FY2021, three Schwartz Rounds were held with a total of 143 staff attending. The topics presented and discussed included:

  • You’re not the boss of me: when patient autonomy becomes life-threatening
  • Code Gray: workplace violence and safety
  • Can we talk: communication in the time of COVID

Peer Support

South County Health’s Peer Support Team is made up of staff who are trained, internationally recognized, and registered to offer intervention to those experiencing compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, burnout, personal crisis, and pandemic-related stress, among other triggers.

In FY2021, eight staff members were trained to respond to crises. In total, 227 interventions provided the support needed to help colleagues through personal and professional challenges.

south county health peer support team

The DAISY Award

Three members of our nursing staff were honored as DAISY Award recipients. These nurses were nominated by patients and families for the exceptional care they received by these outstanding nurses.

Those honored include Annette Haman, RN, Emergency Department; Paige Damie, RN, Express Care, Westerly; and Kathleen Hemphill, RN, Infusion, Cancer Center.

Exceptional Patient Experience

Keeping staff trained in the latest advances of patient care and keeping them satisfied in the workplace are reflected in the positive experience our patients receive.

In addition to continued education, our nursing staff are trained in active listening skills to ensure that patients feel connected in the care process, a relationship that contributes to the healing process.

Routinely, hospital leadership participates in unit rounds to observe the patient/staff interactions and reassure patients that staff in every level of the organization are focused on their care.

South County Hospital received the Press Ganey Pinnacle of Excellence Award in recognition of consecutive years of high performance in patient experience.

High scores given by patients included:

  • Hospital quality
  • Nursing communication
  • Discharge and care transitions

Patient scores in all categories ranked South County Health in the top 10% nationally, out of 2,400 hospitals.

Specifically, South County Hospital’s Emergency Department had marked improvement in Patient Experience in FY2021 with the number of patients reporting they were ‘happy’ with their care, placing the Emergency Department in the 87th percentile among hospitals.

South County Hospital initiated a Post Visit Calls program where staff called patients after their visit to check on them, answer questions, and ensure their care plan met their expectations.

Volunteer Services

Volunteers are a unique and integral part of the exceptional patient experience at South County Health. Our team of volunteers offer patient and staff support in 30 areas within South County Health.

volunteer stats

Annual Report 2021

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Serving Our South County Community

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