1. Nelson, Roxanne

Article Content

Linda Burnes Bolton has been an integral part of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for nearly 50 years, much of her career in leadership positions. Currently Cedars-Sinai's chief nursing officer, vice president for nursing, and director of nursing research, she is especially proud of her facility for achieving Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the fifth consecutive time. Cedars-Sinai is only one of nine hospitals to receive this designation five times in a row. Since Magnet designations are issued every four years, this year marks Cedars-Sinai's 20th year as a Magnet facility.

Figure. Linda Burnes... - Click to enlarge in new window Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN. Photos courtesy of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"It begins with having a phenomenal staff of nurses who are committed to the charge we have, and we charge ourselves with providing excellence in human caring," says Burnes Bolton, who is also Cedars-Sinai's inaugural James R. Klinenberg, MD, and Lynn Klinenberg Linkin Chair in Nursing. "But to provide excellence in human caring, first you have to care for those who provide the caring."


Of the nurses who work at Cedars-Sinai, 84% have baccalaureates or master's degrees and 81% have certifications in clinical specialties-percentages that are far above the national averages. "For us, it is important that we invest in our staff and make sure they have the education and support to do an excellent job," says Burnes Bolton. "If you want to deliver the very best, you need to have the very best, and we invest in our people."


So many Cedars-Sinai nurses have been able to obtain advanced degrees and certifications largely because of the hospital's Geri and Richard Brawerman Nursing Endowment. This resource, Burnes Bolton says, "has allowed us to provide financial support for individuals to be able to attain and sustain not only their degrees, but also certification in their specialty areas."



Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, Burnes Bolton first became interested in nursing when she was about seven years old. Suffering from severe asthma, she was in and out of hospitals, and a passion for caring was instilled in her by the nurses who cared for her. Impressed by the nursing staff, she thought nursing might be the ideal career for her.


Burnes Bolton held her first job in health care as a nursing assistant and received a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Arizona State University. She went on to receive a master of science in nursing, master's in public health, and doctoral degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her career at Cedars-Sinai began in 1971 when she was a labor and delivery nurse at Cedars of Lebanon, which merged with Mt. Sinai Hospital to form present-day Cedars-Sinai. She began to move up the career ladder into leadership positions and was named vice president of nursing in 1991. Five years later she became chief nursing officer.


In addition to her positions at Cedars-Sinai, Burnes Bolton has also held a wide range of national leadership roles, including as president of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the National Black Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Nursing. She served as chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's National Advisory Committee for Transforming Care at the Bedside and the Veteran Affairs Commission on Nursing, and as vice chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine.



Burnes Bolton has been at the helm of nursing leadership at Cedars-Sinai throughout its 20 years as a Magnet hospital. She explains that Magnet designation is important not only to nurses and consumers, but to the industry as well. "If you're a Magnet facility, you are more likely to get a higher rating and it helps the organization," she says. "It is in our best interest to maintain our Magnet status."

Figure. Burnes Bolto... - Click to enlarge in new window Burnes Bolton speaks with staff as she makes the rounds at Cedars-Sinai.

The ANCC's Magnet Recognition Program, initiated in 1993, honors facilities that meet the most rigorous standards of nursing in patient care, research, leadership, and community service. To date, only 6% of the 6,300 hospitals in the United States have achieved Magnet status.


Research conducted by the ANCC has found that Magnet hospitals have a lower risk of 30-day mortality, higher patient satisfaction, and greater job satisfaction among the nursing staff. Nurse satisfaction, explains Burnes Bolton, means not only attracting the best nurses but also retaining them.


"We have a low hospital turnover rate," she says, "and that is one of the indicators the credentialing center looks at. We also have a low vacancy rate for an academic center." Burnes Bolton explains that one of the hallmarks at Cedars-Sinai is shared governance. "There are 45 committees and they are chaired by staff nurses. When the surveyors were here for the Magnet designation, they met with about 300 of the staff nurses alone. There were no leaders present, so the staff could speak freely. This validated that what we put on paper was true."


For the future, Burnes Bolton emphasizes that Cedars-Sinai is going to continue to strive for excellence. "We do what we can to be successful and to stay successful in the provision of human caring."-Roxanne Nelson