Our most ambitious endeavor to date was simultaneously opening two new hospitals in December 2017. Throughout 2018, we accommodated unanticipated rapid growth for the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals. Beyond projections, immediate demands for care required us to speed recruitment for staffing and start opening medical/surgical and intensive care units that we’d originally planned to open later. This is a testament to our patients’ trust in UF Health and the expertise of our faculty and staff.
Relocating services to the new medical facility meant we could rethink vacated space and start much-needed renovations at UF Health Shands Hospital. The fifth floor was adapted for long-term acute care services, provided independently by Select Specialty Hospital — Gainesville, which relocated there late summer. Meanwhile, our second-floor Labor and Delivery Unit is being modernized and expanded. The eighth-floor Medical ICU and Intermediate Care Unit are under expansion: This will help improve capacity and efficiency throughout the hospital. And our seventh-floor Burn ICU and Surgical Care Unit expansion is underway, as are children’s surgical services improvements on the second floor.
This year, we also remained focused on clinical quality, making progress based on national quality measures. We’re leaders among our academic peers for infection rate reductions — and our mortality rates are among the lowest in the nation. We received our fourth-consecutive Magnet designation in June. It’s the nursing industry’s highest distinction for quality nursing care, and along with several Beacon Awards for Excellence in nursing, these honors confirm our staff’s commitment to clinical excellence. We had national top-employer recognition and we received accreditations and acknowledgment among top-tier hospitals. Our U.S. News & World Report rankings again were impressive: For the fourth year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in the state, with a total of 12. The momentum continues: Our pediatric heart surgery programs and adult lung transplant programs, for example, have incredible survival rates.
All our success belongs to our people. We have had leadership changes, and we appreciate those who laid the foundation as well as the fresh energy of those who are now guiding our progress. We always benefit from new perspectives. This year, we continued to focus on staff engagement so that our faculty and staff feel valued and are inspired and motivated. Engaged staff deliver the best care.
The connection among our faculty and staff was clear during our response to Hurricane Michael when it hit the Panhandle in October. The teamwork from our UF Health ShandsCair crews, nurses, physicians and clinical and support staff … the mutual appreciation and respect … and the personal support … it was all amazing and showed us that we are, indeed, a work family.
Finally, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of UF Health Shands and our Gainesville hospital-based system. We reflected on our milestones and how each year we care for patients from all 67 Florida counties, from throughout the region and nation, as well as from multiple other countries. There was great pride and awareness for how every person can contribute to improving quality of life for thousands of patients and family members. We asked you, our staff, to let us know what matters to you and how you contribute. The responses were truly moving and some are featured in this issue of News+Notes. Now we have dozens of unscripted personal stories and testimonials to share about dedication and commitment that will keep the momentum going for all of us.
These are just highlights. At the end of the day, it’s my goal to have all our staff who provide and support care at UF Health Shands to sleep at night knowing we’ve helped someone that day, and to wake up energized by having another opportunity to make a difference. Our faculty and staff in the UF Health family deliver the magic every day — I am in awe of everyone here.
Throughout 2018, we accommodated unanticipated rapid growth for the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals.
We celebrated the 60th Anniversary of UF Health Shands in October.
We received our fourth-consecutive magnet designation, the nursing industry’s highest distinction for quality nursing care.
UF Health Shands ranks among the nation’s best in six specialties in the 2018-19 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey.
For the fourth year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in the state, with a total of 12.