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South African Hospital Uses Packard Children's as Model for Nurse Retention
Date:3/13/2008

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- For better or for worse, you don't usually get to pick your siblings. That's why Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is excited to announce the formation of a formal "twinning" relationship with Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital -- the only freestanding children's hospital in sub-Saharan Africa.

Three nurse administrators from Red Cross Children's are visiting Packard Children's through Monday (17) to formalize the twinning, a term chosen to reflect an atmosphere of mutual collaboration and sharing, and plan for an ongoing nurse exchange project between the two institutions.

The partnership represents an international effort to reduce nurses migrating out of developing countries by fostering professional development opportunities, enhancing job satisfaction and supporting clinical care of children in South Africa. It's a two-way street, however, as Packard Children's expects to learn much from its sibling in the southern hemisphere.

"We live in a society that's very rich in resources," said Sandra Staveski, NP, a pediatric cardiac intensive care nurse practitioner at Packard Children's. "This is a chance not only to give back, but also to learn." Staveski initiated the relationship more than two years ago after a medical mission to India with Packard Children's pediatric cardiac surgeon V. Mohan Reddy, MD.

Keeping good nurses and other medical professionals in South Africa is difficult for a number of reasons: relatively low pay as compared to developed countries, difficult social issues and concerns about crime and safety. "There are lots of compelling reasons to leave," said Staveski. "But most really love Africa and would stay if they could." At Packard Children's, nursing retention has been a focus of ongoing efforts and has an overall turnover rate of 5% annually, a low to moderate rate compared to the national average.

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SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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