As vice president of patient care services and CNO at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., Ann Marie Leichman still remembers the “beautiful sight” of her staff’s original completed submission for the Magnet Recognition Program.
“It consisted of a stack of five, 4-inch-thick binders, filled with evidence and documentation, all the result of many people’s hard work and dedication, all mailed off to Washington,” said Leichman, RN, MSN, NEA-BC.
Those efforts rewarded Valley with its first Magnet classification in 2003, and in 2008, Leichman and the nursing staff celebrated a Magnet re-designation.
Leichman, who has been in her position for two years and at Valley for 12 years, knows the journey associated with Magnet status well. “When I came to Valley Hospital in 2000, the process for working to achieve Magnet distinction had already started with efforts from our previous CNO, but had been put on hold for two or three years,” said Leichman, who lives in New City, N.Y. “However, Magnet is something nurses at any hospital want to achieve because this is a classification that matters to everyone, from patients and hospital administration to any nursing staff looking to be the best.”Annlouise Moran, RN
The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to recognize healthcare organizations that provide nursing excellence while also providing a way to share successful nursing practices and strategies.
Launched in 1983 to improve the standards of the nursing profession, Magnet status is granted after rigorous review of the comprehensive report and application submitted. There also is a site visit from the ANCC Magnet Committee to evaluate the nursing innovation, quality of patient care and professional nursing practice, along with the committee conducting interviews of the nursing staff.
As leader of the latest push for a third re-designation, Leichman emphasized the importance of a shared governance structure while pursing Magnet. “We have committees in each unit and every department collecting information during the process because the process has to be evidence-based and not just claims made on paper,” she said. “And for this third time going for another Magnet re-designation, we have the advantage of a mature governance model, established nursing staff and a clear focus of what we want to emphasize about our mission for patient care.”
On-site courses for staff to obtain advance degrees make it convenient for nurses to continue education efforts on hospital property after finishing a shift. This is part of Leichman’s growing push for further education and certification opportunities, through a program embraced and blessed by Magnet consideration committees.Kathy Webster, RN
Marianne Harkin, RN, BSN, MS, CNRN, senior director of professional practice at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, has been with the hospital for nearly five years and said it’s the facility’s high standards and history of Magnet recognition that remains an important influence for colleagues to join the staff.
“We earned Magnet originally in 2005 and then a re-designation in 2009 and since hospitals are eligible to strive for resignation every four years, we’re in the process of the journey again to achieve Magnet level again for 2013,” said Harkin, who earned her BSN from Hunter College in 1981. “Magnet is yet another reason for nurses to be proud of their profession. Only 5% to 6% of hospitals accomplish the goal of Magnet designation, which can span every aspect of what results in successful nursing, from adequate compensation and further education and degree career paths to safety procedures to quality of patient care and satisfaction.”
Harkin, who lives in Long Island City, N.Y., stresses how the Magnet process has changed and what was once about policies and documentation submitted on paper to today’s push for results and outcome of the programs and scenarios explained by nurses on the submitted application and reports.
“There is no end point to quality and nurses do not say my work is done because there’s always a way to do things better for even stronger results,” Harkin said. “Magnet is a program that allows for the chronicling of the evolution of the nursing field.”Lori Colineri, RN
When Harkin helped the hospital’s CNO write the nine volumes of reports and detailed application for Magnet, which she said is not allowed to exceed 15 inches in height and resulted in the 2009 designation, she said it contained everything from photos and personal nurse accounts to brochures and fliers.
“One of many defining moments for change that we shared in that last application was explaining how we had the hospital add state-of-the-art ceiling lifts for patients in all of the ICU rooms,” Harkin said. “It sounds simple, but it made a big difference as something not only to make things better for the patients, for ease of movement while confined to bed, but also to provide consideration for the backs of nurses who were helping with adjusting these patients and transfers.”
Though some hospitals will bring in professional writers and proofreaders to draft and assemble the Magnet application, Harkin said she was confident to lead the process and let nurses “tell their stories of success.”
Annlouise Moran, RN, MPH, NE-BC, who has been director of the Magnet program and quality outcomes at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., for two years, said there are 386 hospitals in the world with Magnet designation.Margaret Ochotorena, RN
“Magnet is the medal honor for nurses and one of our brightest sources of pride,” said Moran, who received her BSN from Pace University in New York City. “This is a designation that represents the goals, aspirations and visions of nurses.”
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital first earned Magnet in 1997, with re-designations in 2002, 2006 and 2011.
“Magnet is not about the nurses at various hospitals competing against each other to be better,” Moran said. “Really, Magnet is about competing against yourself to continue to be better and all the patients at these Magnet hospitals benefit from this hard work and dedication for achievement.”
Lori Colineri, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, vice president and CNE at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, N.J., is in the process of leading her nursing team through the Magnet application for a fourth designation.
“Nurses realize when you are Magnet it’s a reflection of the staff and it distinguishes clinical excellence,” said Colineri, who lives in Scotch Plains, N.J., and has been in her position for nearly three years. “As current as you think you are? That’s how current you are not. And that’s why Magnet is such an important benchmark for nurses and hospitals.”
Colineri, a 1985 graduate of the Muhlenberg Hospital School of Nursing in Plainfield, N.J., said the resulting success of any hospital’s Magnet designation benefits all nurses and hospitals because of the shared practices and models that are passed along in the field at conferences, symposiums and seminars.
“All nurses care what other nurses are doing and what’s effective in the field and Magnet allows this success to be shared by everyone,” said Colineri, who is proud of Riverview’s Magnet designations in 1998, 2002 and 2007.
Because of the financial commitment required for the extensive Magnet submission process, from additional staffing and hours to innovative technology and incentives for nurses to achieve advanced training and education, the support of hospital administration is vital for success.
Kathy Webster, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, vice president of patient services for Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., has been in the nursing field for 35 years, graduating with her BSN from Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y.
A resident of Mahopac, N.Y., Webster said she applauds the administration of hospitals who realize the importance of Magnet classification. “Not only does Magnet create a whole new culture and elevate the standards of care, it also serves as a link for shared governance so nurses have a voice in the hospital mission,” said Webster, who was part of her hospital’s team that secured Magnet recognition in 2007 and is leading the re-designation process.
“I first began investigating the Magnet process for our hospital after attending a conference in 2002,” she said. “We set Magnet as our goal and five years later, we had achieved it. And with every re-designation, the expectations are higher. Magnet is never taken for granted.”
Margaret Ochotorena, RN, MSN, NE-BC, director of patient relations and Magnet coordinator for St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., has been at the hospital for nine years and has led the hospital’s Magnet efforts for three years. The facility’s first Magnet designation was in 2006 and re-designation was granted in April.
Ochotorena, who lives in Maverne, N.Y., and graduated in 1982 with her MSN from Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., said one of the many integral highlights of the most recent Magnet application for re-designation was an explanation of an educational collaborative with Adelphi University in spring 2009.
“Creating a dedicated institutional unit for nursing students to learn is a good example of nurses participating in an innovative educational application that is an investment in the future of this field,” Ochotorena said.
Ann Cella, RN, Med, MA, NEA-BC, senior vice president of patient care services and CNO at St. Francis Hospital, has been at the hospital since 1979 and said there’s always been an emphasis for achievement and excellence. “In 1982, St. Francis was part of a research study of 40 hospitals across the nation to find out what it takes for success with attracting and retaining nurses in the field,” said Cella, who received her RN from Queens Hospital Center School of Nursing in Jamaica, N.Y., in 1971. “Magnet rewards nurses for being innovators in the field as hospitals continue to change and expand for the future.”
Cella said the hospital’s most recent Magnet application for re-designation exceeded 2,700 pages and included nine volumes. “For our next time, we’ll be using the new option of an electronic application for Magnet,” Cella said. “Magnet is a process toward excellence that never ceases, happening every day and in every way.”