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New Jersey Nurses Take the Reins After Achieving Magnet

Magnet coordinators share how their nurses have changed since achieving Magnet status and how they have embraced Transformational Leadership, one of the 5 Forces of Magnetism. From participating in decision-making on professional practice councils to reaching out to the community to increase health awareness, obtaining Magnet has motivated nurses to push the boundaries of their practice.

Linda Geisler, RN, Vice President, Patient Care Services, CentraState Healthcare System, Freehold, N.J.

Linda Geisler, RN

Our nurses are more empowered. They work directly with physicians, they suggest new products for us to buy for patients and they initiate new practices that serve patient care. For example, they’ve trialed new IV pumps before purchase, an ED nurse created a card for patients to list medications, and nurses helped develop and improve our clinical information system. They are involved with any decisions in our nursing department. We have increased significantly the number of nurses going for bachelor’s degrees and certification, and we have implemented shared governance so nurses are governing their own unit nursing practice.

They’ve done self-scheduling, improved patient satisfaction, initiated new protocols and policies, and developed a new model of nursing so we have a professional practice committee, in which a nurse from every unit participates in making decisions about nursing practices throughout the organization. The committee brought Monmouth University on-site, making it easier for nurses to attend classes in pursuit of their bachelor’s degrees. It instituted peer review and changed the nursing clinical ladder, which we call our nursing excellence program. The committee determines where a nurse is on the ladder depending on criteria such as certification, community service, degrees, etc. Its members help write policies and procedures, do performance improvement studies, initiate research for evidence-based practices and participate in nursing professional organizations. We also created other committees in which nurses participate.

I’m accessible and supportive of empowering the nurses and getting them involved in everything we do in the organization. This goes beyond me, right down to staff nurses. We empower our nurses to be transformational leaders.

Madelyn M. Pearson, RN, MA, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and CNO, Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center

Madelyn M. Pearson, RN

We’ve had Magnet designation since 2002 and are working on our third redesignation. We have an incredibly engaged staff. Our nurses are involved in policy. We’ve created an education council, an evidence-based practice council made up of nurses, and an interdisciplinary IT information council, which was helpful in doing the initial assessments and work flows to prepare for our medical records initiative.

Education is a priority at Englewood. Surpassing our goal, 68% of our bedside nurses already are baccalaureate or master’s-prepared. Many also hold professional certifications, and we are actively moving to increase those rates to better prepare the bedside nurse for the acuity of patient care.

We decided we needed to look at the educational preparation of our first-line managers — what we call patient care directors. They must be master’s-prepared. To better facilitate this requirement, Englewood created an on-site program with William Paterson University through which 12 nurses will graduate next spring and 16 staff and managers in September 2011. This association makes it easy for nurses to attend because it’s convenient and allows for collegial group work.

Transformational leadership means more than just the nursing leadership team or directors. It’s staff leadership at the bedside as well. You can’t have one without the other. Seeking to transform leadership also means seeking to enhance leadership at the bedside.

Cheryl E. Owens, RN, MSN, CNOR, Magnet Coordinator and Director of Nursing, Jersey City (N.J.) Medical Center

Cheryl E. Owens, RN

As we prepare for Magnet redesignation, not only are our nurses more active in hospital decision-making and more autonomous in their practice, but they also adhere to the concepts of evidence-based practice. Nurses at JCMC participate in more professional organizations and activities. For example, they are involved in the President’s Council for strategic planning and have orchestrated and taken a leadership role in nurse-peer review. The Professional Practice Council has become a well-respected committee, and the nurses on this council hold other disciplines accountable for adherence to evidence-based practice.

Champions for all hospital initiatives, our nurses have formulated and developed the professional practice model, are empowered in the decision-making role and follow through on Unit Practice Council issues. We have developed hospitalwide journal clubs where nursing issues are discussed, and the CNO has recommended a managerial development program, which we will implement this coming year.

Micki Patrick, RN, MSN, Director of Magnet and Nursing Organizational Effectiveness, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, N.J.

Micki Patrick, RN

Our nurses have a renewed sense of pride in their commitment to nursing excellence and know they are empowered to continue to be innovative and creative in their approaches to care delivery. As our shared governance process has matured, many of our nurses have assumed leadership roles in shared governance councils and are doing an excellent job promoting nursing practice and assuring quality care. They even have begun to undertake initiatives for improving their workplace environment and have embraced a higher level of autonomy.

Our nursing leaders are visible and accessible, which gives them more opportunities to advocate for resources, professional development and avenues to provide support to the nursing staff. At RBMC, our transformational leadership style supports shared decision-making, and as mentors and coaches, we emphasize quality, safety and innovation in nursing practice.

Linda Carroll, RN-BC, BSN, MSN, Director of Professional Practice, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J.

Linda Carroll, RN

We are proud to have been the 10th hospital in the country to receive Magnet designation, and we just submitted our application for our third redesignation. Our staff nurses have assumed leadership roles on many hospital councils that support the nursing department’s collaborative structure, which is the vehicle for nursing communication.

All nursing councils are led by staff RNs, with the exception of the Management and Patient Care Leadership Council, and report to the Professional Practice Council. The staff nurse-driven Professional Practice Council is the decision-making body for all issues concerning nursing practice. For example, we have a Transcultural Care Committee, chaired by two staff RNs, which has produced a number of educational materials used in the hospital and presented to the New Jersey Hospital Association staff nurse advisory board.

To create a culture of safety and excellence, our nursing leaders and individual nurses at Saint Peter’s make it a priority to develop open communication and embrace transformational leadership principles. Our peer review process is an example of how nurses at every level provide open feedback to one another, and our collaborative structure gives us many opportunities to disseminate information and receive feedback, resulting in positive outcomes for staff and patients.

Kathleen Perez, RN, BSN, Director, Nursing Resources, and Diane Applebaum, RN, DrPH, CIC, Administrative Director, Patient Care Services, Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington, N.J.

Kathleen Perez, RN

We always believed that we had Magnet nurses, even before we received Magnet designation. The achievement of Magnet status was an affirmation to us of the quality of our staff and the care they deliver to our patients.

Under the leadership of Patricia Steingall, RN, MS, CNO, vice president, patient care services, nurses have been encouraged to publish and speak out in the community. Hunterdon RNs have planned and implemented a number of community events for people with diabetes and for children and their families.

Besides performing nursing and patient rounds, members of the department of nursing, nutrition and environmental services meet weekly in collaborative rounds to discuss ways to improve patient care. We are proud of the fact that we received a 99% Press Ganey rating for the first and second quarter of 2010, and we recently celebrated that accomplishment.

Diane Applebaum, RN

We have a number of initiatives, such as the Professional Achievement Levels (PALS) and “Chats with Pat,” during which our nurses stay professionally current and connected with leadership.

We have staff nurse involvement and leadership in our Patient Care Division and Nurse Management councils and Wound Care, Infection Prevention and Cultural Connections committees. Our nurses are active members in the councils of our shared governance model, which has been thriving for the past 14 years.

Nancy Winter, RN, MSN, NE-BC, Magnet Program Director, Meridian Health System, New Jersey

Nancy Winter, RN

Meridian Health was the first healthcare system nationwide to be awarded Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 1998, and the three hospitals pursuing Magnet designation for a fourth time include Ocean Medical Center in Brick, N.J., Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, N.J., and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J.

Led by Richard Hader, RN, CHE, CPHQ, NE-BC, PhD, FAAN, senior vice president and CNO for Meridian Health, the nursing department values a progressive career track for the bedside practitioner. More than 700 direct care nurses participate in the clinical nurse specialty Scholar Program, directed toward improving patient care through professional development and empowerment of the bedside staff nurse. Nurses are mentored by several of our nurse scientists, and have opportunities to develop innovative projects in geriatrics, quality, research, evidence-based care and leadership.

The attributes of transformational leadership are seen in the innovative, forward-thinking structures established at MH, including the establishment of the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing, the only generic BSN program in Monmouth and Ocean counties, and the opening of the MH Institute of Evidence Based Care, the only evidence-based care center with an interdisciplinary approach to patient-centered care.

Another initiative is the use of philanthropic funds for students who are returning to school for higher education in nursing. Each year, about $250,000 is awarded to qualified candidates to supplement tuition reimbursement. We also mandate 100% specialty certification for all MH nurses, adhere to a “BSN-preferred” hiring policy and provide substantial economic incentives to nurses who contribute to the work of this Magnet organization.

For Magnet responses from New York nurses visit

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By | 2020-04-15T14:09:48-04:00 October 11th, 2010|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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