Nationally Recognized Nursing Care

Whether you're a patient, family member or medical professional, this section provides you with valuable information about our Magnet® designated nursing care.

Welcome Letter

Dear Colleague,

We welcome your interest in nursing at Geisinger Holy Spirit. Here at Geisinger Holy Spirit, we have a rich heritage of caring for those in need as we continue the work of our founding sponsors, the Sisters of Christian Charity along with our new affiliation with Geisinger Health System.

Please take the time to get to know us. It is a true privilege for me to serve with my nursing colleagues at Geisinger Holy Spirit. Our nurses embrace a passion for excellence, serving with distinction and exemplifying the “Spirit of Caring” through Relationship-Based Care.

Our nurses are our treasured resource and deserve an environment that supports professional practice and recognizes their contribution. Professional Practice Councils are the foundation for empowering staff nurses to work with a high level of autonomy, managing their clinical practice and working environment. Our Councils provide an infrastructure for our nurses to work with their colleagues to create consistent, evidence-based nursing care throughout our hospital.

High quality nursing leadership is a keystone of high quality care. I am blessed with a leadership team characterized by impeccable integrity and ethics, visibility to our staff, patients, and families, and a mindset of mutual respect, continuous learning and professional collegiality.

I am thrilled to be a part of the Geisinger Holy Spirit nursing team and honored to work with such awesome nurses. Consider Geisinger Holy Spirit as you make the decision where you will practice. The environment and opportunities here are phenomenal. The future of nursing is here.

Ellen R. Lenkevich, RN, MA
Interim Vice President Patient Care Services/CNO

Magnet Recognition

We are proud of our Nursing Department for receiving the top credential for excellence in nursing.


Geisinger Holy Spirit is a Magnet Hospital

Geisinger Holy Spirit has achieved Magnet® recognition as a reflection of our nursing professionalism, teamwork and superiority in patient care. Magnet recognition is a reputable designation for high-quality nursing within the health care setting. It gives our patients yet another reason to feel good about the care we provide. U.S. News & World Report also uses Magnet status when determining its annual showcase of "America's Best Hospitals".

What is Magnet Recognition?

Magnet recognition is determined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®, which serves as the gold standard for nursing excellence and provides patients with the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. Since 1990, hospitals have undergone a rigorous and lengthy review process that examines patient care and outcomes. Out of several thousand health care organizations in the country, only a small percentage have received the Magnet credential to-date.

What Does Magnet Recognition Mean for Patients?

Patients rely on Magnet designation as the ultimate credential for high-quality nursing:

  • Patients are assured that their hospital holds the top credential for excellence in nursing.
  • Research has shown Magnet hospitals to be associated with lower rates of patient falls.
  • Magnet-recognized hospitals have been associated with higher patient satisfaction with nurse communication, availability of help and receipt of discharge information.

What Does Magnet Recognition Mean for Nurses?

The Magnet credential is a testament to the role our nurses play every day — participating in the decision-making process, practicing with autonomy and providing high-quality and safe care for every patient:

  • Magnet hospitals employ the best-trained and most-qualified nurses.
  • Magnet hospitals outperform other hospitals in both recruiting and retaining nursing professionals.
  • Magnet hospitals have higher employee satisfaction.

Nursing Philosophy

Our nursing philosophy is based on the Mission, Vision and Values of Geisinger Holy Spirit.

Dedicated To Excellence

We believe that the provision of highly skilled, competent and compassionate nurses is essential to fulfilling our commitment to excellence in clinical practice, education and nursing research.

The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, American Nurses Association Social Policy Statement, the Catholic Religious and Ethical Directives, Relationship-Based Care, and the Nurse Practice Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provide the cornerstones of our nursing practice and patient care.

The Art and Science of Nursing

Professional nursing is both an art and a science, based upon a combination of knowledge, skills, expertise and the provision of care. The discipline of nursing makes a unique contribution to disease and injury prevention, health promotion, maintenance and restoration, and support of patients and their families throughout their life spans.

Our framework for providing nursing care is relationship-based. Relationship-based care is provided through three key relationships for every nurse at the point of care: with patient and family, with self, and with colleagues.

Our view of life as a precious gift guides our approach to nursing, incorporating our professional values of respect, dignity, wholism, service, stewardship, quality and integrity, as well as creativity and commitment to excellence.

Effective nursing practice, education, research and leadership are grounded in the complexity of human relationships. As critical thinkers, nurses systematically assess situations, define problems, identify goals, plan, implement and evaluate the care provided by self and others in order to achieve successful outcomes.

Nursing Executive Council Members

A directory of names, titles and credentials for the respected members of our Nursing Executive Council.

Patricia Carnes, RN, BSN, MHA, NE-BC
Assistant Vice President, Nursing Services

Cynthia Swartz, MS, RN, ACNS-BC
Assistant Vice President, Nursing Services

Tina Swartz, CRNA, MSN, CPC-HA
Administrative Director, Surgical Services

Professional Practice

Nursing care at Geisinger Holy Spirit is guided by our professional practice model and shared governance structure, which includes hospital-wide and unit-based councils.

We are committed to promoting professional nursing practice through clear communication, ownership, accountability, trust and values in an environment of autonomy and respect.

Professional Practice Model

Geisinger Holy Spirit's Professional Practice Model describes how we practice, collaborate, communicate and develop professionally at Geisinger Holy Spirit.

Click here to download a PDF of the Professional Practice Model chart.

Shared Governance Structure

Geisinger Holy Spirit's Nursing Department incorporates a shared decision-making process to promote professional growth and optimal patient care and outcomes through a structure of both hospital-wide and unit-based councils.

Coordinating Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Jonna Morris, RN, PCCN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Danne Palm, RN

Purpose: Functions as the central hub for the coordination of council activities for the purpose of achieving outcomes in the areas of nursing service, evidence-based practice and research, education, relationship management, nursing excellence, technology and nursing quality.

Night Shift Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Denise Cutting, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Mylinda Coble, RN

Purpose: To improve patient care and the work environment for staff on the night shift.

Relationship Management Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Jennifer Hixenbaugh, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Mary Brinson, RN

Purpose: Defines, implements and maintains exemplary service throughout each nursing unit; responsible for reviewing specific unit satisfaction scores and developing solutions for improvement; supports the process for prompt resolution of patient grievances and/or complaints; gathers knowledge and resources to understand diverse cultures seen most commonly in the service area for both patients and staff; educates caregivers about diverse cultures by identifying norms and practices of a particular group (culture); develops optimal mode of health care delivery, recognizing the variability of nursing approaches needed to provide culturally appropriate care that incorporates an individual's cultural values, beliefs and practices, including sensitivity to the environment from which the individual comes and to which the individual may ultimately return.

Nurse-Physician Collaboration Team

Co-Chairs: Ellen R. Lenkevich, RN, MA, & Dr. Joseph Torchia, CMO

Purpose: Fosters enhanced collaborative relationships for the benefit of patient care.

Evidence-Based Practice/Research Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Danne Palm, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Jenny Boyarski, BSN, PCCN

Purpose: Reviews and makes recommendations for clinical policies and procedures and standards of care; fosters the utilization of evidence-based practice and research in clinical decision-making.

APN Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Cindy Swartz, MS, RN, ACNS-BC

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Mark Parsons, CRNA

Purpose: Provide advice, leadership, mentoring, education, problem identification and options for a solution to topics critical to the success of all Geisinger Holy Spirit's Advanced Practice Nurses.

Nursing Quality Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Christy LePore, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Beth Meadath, RN

Purpose: Facilitates dissemination of transparent and timely data; recommends behavior changes which lead to improvements; shares best practices to improve processes at the unit level; refers system issues to appropriate sources; evaluates unit action plans for low-performing indicators.

Nursing Excellence Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Betsey Davison, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: LaRay Crouthermel, RN

Purpose: Defines, implements, and maintains a supportive physical and psychosocial work environment; responsible for recruitment and retention, staff satisfaction and celebration activities.

Magnet Champions

Staff Nurse Leader: Andrea Weatherford, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Sue Horton, RN

Purpose: Is knowledgeable about the framework for Magnet and the Magnet Model components; educates, motivates and promotes staff understanding of Magnet; collects unit-based information and evidence relative to each of the Magnet Model components; collaborates with the Nurse Managers and unit Shared Governance Councils to facilitate Magnet work.

Education Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Colleen Ranney, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leader: Beth Ann Shaffer, RN

Purpose: Identifies learning needs to support nursing competency focused upon ongoing staff education; enhances the skill acquisition, knowledge and confidence of the nursing staff through clinical, professional development and academic opportunities; promotes the best outcomes for patients, families and staff through the advancement and professionalism of nursing; informs patients about their health and empowers their decision-making about their health care.

Clinical Informatics Council

Staff Nurse Leader: Cleta Dolinger, RN

Staff Nurse Co-Leaders: Tom Abruzzo, RN & Jenna Troutman, RN

Purpose: Responsible for decisions that impact Geisinger Holy Spirit staff with use of the computer information system (CIS); informs Geisinger Holy Spirit staff of CIS project status; educates staff on use of CIS; provides support to end users during go-live; assists in decision-making on system change requests.

Relationship-Based Care

In Relationship-Based Care, nurses and other members of the health care team strive to engage the patient and family in all aspects of treatment.

At Geisinger Holy Spirit, our exceptional nursing care is based on a framework of strong relationships.

Three Important Relationships for Every Nurse

Relationship-Based Care confirms three crucial relationships for every nurse at the point-of-care:

  1. With the patient and family
  2. With colleagues
  3. With oneself

Care Centered Around the Patient and Family

Relationship-Based Care is a delivery system in which the patient and family are the central focus.

The nurse and other members of the health care team strive to understand what is most important to the individual patient and to actively engage the patient in all aspects of care. It is a culture that supports caring and healing.

Nursing Recognition

From career advancement and certification bonuses to awards and celebrations, we find many ways to recognize the exceptional performance of our valued nursing staff.

Nursing Career Ladder

The Nursing Career Ladder Program at Geisinger Holy Spirit provides a process by which to reward and recognize clinical competency, experience, professional development, leadership, performance improvement/nursing research and excellence in the quality of patient care.

The Career Ladder consists of five levels. Each level has specific criteria that must be met in order to advance. Achievement of advancement is self-directed and level status is validated annually. Each level builds upon the preceding level. Advancement is based on application, portfolio, interview and peer review process. Promotion is acknowledged by title, departmental recognition and financial remuneration.

Annual Certification Bonus

Registered nursing certification is the formal recognition of specialized knowledge, skills and experience. Through successful completion of a qualifying examination, individuals are awarded specialty certification credentials identified by independent accredited nursing specialty organizations to promote optimal patient care. Geisinger Holy Spirit honors and supports certified bedside nurses through an annual bonus program.

Nursing Excellence Awards

Each year during Nurses' Week, we honor Geisinger Holy Spirit nurses for their contributions to excellence in nursing through the Nursing Excellence Awards. Recipients are selected by their peers. Awards are given in the following categories: Clinical Practice Registered Nurse, Specialty Clinical Practice Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Nursing Team Member, Advanced Practice Nurse and Nursing Administration.

Nurses' Week

Geisinger Holy Spirit and the Nurses' Week Committee honor and celebrate our fantastic nursing team by sponsoring exciting activities throughout Nurses' Week. The highlight of the week is the Nurses' Luncheon, where our Nightingale Award winners are announced.

Pennsylvania Annual Nightingale Awards Gala

Each fall, our Nursing Excellence Award winners and Nightingale Award nominees are guests at the Pennsylvania Annual Nightingale Awards dinner. Attendance at this dinner is supported by the Medical Staff of Geisinger Holy Spirit.

Clinical Excellence Banners

The Image/Work Life Council awards Clinical Excellence Banners to units demonstrating excellence in quality, service or teamwork. The Council reviews nominations and selects winners based on established criteria. The award-winning units prominently display their banners during the following month.

Research/Evidence-Based Practice

Nurses at Geisinger Holy Spirit base their care decisions on scientific knowledge, which means our patients receive the most effective nursing interventions.

Unparalleled Care Backed by Science

Evidence-based practice means nurses make patient care decisions based on scientific knowledge, including research findings. Evidence-based practice provides patients and families with up-to-date, optimal nursing interventions.

Nurses at Geisinger Holy Spirit are known for using scientific evidence in nursing practice.

Our clinical documentation system integrates proven, evidence-based content into daily clinical processes and supports patient care delivery. Through our Shared Governance Councils, our nurses not only keep current on recent developments in health care, but they implement practice standards based on evidence while also generating new evidence. Our nurses read, participate in and lead research projects.

At Geisinger Holy Spirit, robust resources are provided to support evidence-based practice. Our library maintains many current online references, and our expert librarian is available to provide training and assistance to our staff as needed. In addition, research consultants from LaSalle University and Messiah College work closely with us in our nursing research. Messiah College students and Geisinger Holy Spirit nursing staff also collaborate on research projects. They share their findings at nursing conferences across the nation.

Nursing Annual Report and Newsletters

Download PDFs of current and past annual reports and newsletters.

Nurse Residency

This nine-month program welcomes new nurses into the practice and eases their transition into professional life.

How Does Nurse Residency Work?

Targeted to graduate nurses or nurses with less than one year of experience, this nine-month, transition-to-practice program begins after the two-week hospital and nursing orientation.

Our nurse residents attend regular meetings, where they receive instruction and participate in group activities. Lessons focus on clinical skills and professional issues that relate specifically to new nurses. The meetings also provide a venue for the sharing of experiences and peer support, thereby creating a support network for our new nurses.

For more information on Geisinger Holy Spirit's Nurse Residency Program, please send an email to or call 717-972-4843. For information on current nursing opportunities available within the health system, please visit our Careers page. Look for positions that do not require previous experience.

Geisinger Holy Spirit participates in Spirit of Nursing, a pilot program of Spirit of Women that celebrates and recognizes professional nurses on our staff and in the community.