By Debra Anscombe Wood, RN
Earning Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center is a huge achievement for a hospital and demonstrates its nursing excellence, high standards and innovations in professional practice. Magnet program directors play a key role in shepherding facilities through the process and keeping them on track for maintaining the credential.
“It’s challenging and rewarding, and you help change the culture of the organization during and after the journey,” said Maggie Adler, MSN, RN-BC, Magnet program director and associate director of standards and quality at NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt, N.Y. “It makes you feel good that you took part in helping the organization reach the highest quality of care and service to the patient.”
ANCC requires each organization to designate a Magnet program director, who serves as a point person for communication with the center, said Janice W. Moran, MPA, BSN, RN, director, Magnet operations for ANCC. The program directors can discuss issues with ANCC analysts. The directors also serve in other positions at the hospital and should report to and have a good relationship with the CNO.
It’s someone who understands and works in the profession.
It’s a very big job.”
Writing reports, applications
As one key responsibility, Magnet program directors prepare Magnet applications and reports.
Patricia Quinlan, PhD, MPA, RN, CPHQ, Magnet program director and senior director and chief nursing learning officer at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said the organization must live the Magnet model, so she has something to write about.
ANCC develops stretch standards for Magnet and revises the application about every four years. Stretch standards are those that encourage Magnet hospitals to continue to achieve higher degrees of excellence.
“We keep progressing nursing excellence and operational excellence based on those standards,” said Linda C. Lewis, MSA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, executive vice president and chief ANCC officer. “It’s all done to keep Magnet on the forefront of the reformation of healthcare.” Program directors must determine what is being asked of the organization, which can change during each Magnet renewal, said Donna Baird, MSN, MPH, RN, FNP-BC, NE-BC, Magnet program director and nurse educator at CentraState Medical Center, Freehold, N.J.
The document must include narratives describing nursing practice and documentation about patient outcomes. ANCC reviews the data midway between applications and provides feedback about whether a hospital is on track for maintaining the designation. Nurses submit examples of nursing excellence with their patients.
“I like showcasing the work the nurses do,” Baird said.
Baird edits the content into a concise application and creates graphs on the data collected. Facilities submit data in a Magnet template, so all data is structured consistently and information can be benchmarked against other facilities.
As a nurse manager, Lenny Gorelik, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Magnet coordinator at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, Manhattan, first helped on a writing team that prepared the facility’s application. Now, he is responsible for it.
Hudson Valley also created a writing team, facilitated by Adler, to draft components of the Magnet document. That team reaches out to managers and bedside nurses to collect nursing excellence narratives. Adler then edits the application before submission.
As the deadline approaches, the program director may put in late nights finalizing content, according to Baird.
“That’s the fun of it, to challenge yourself and pull it together,” Quinlan said.
Advising and educating
In addition to completing the application and annual reports, each program director is charged with making sure the tenets of Magnet are maintained, Moran said.
“I guide and advise hospital leadership on the journey toward Magnet,” Adler said. “Part of my role is to educate.”
That includes sharing information about Magnet and how it affects all aspects of care delivery with management, nursing and other departments.
Gorelik checks in with all department heads and staff nurses about challenges and opportunities for improvement, brainstorming strategies and re-evaluating how quality improvement projects are progressing. “Working with others is gratifying,” he said. “Everyone wants each other to succeed.”
Success at hand
Once ANCC accepts the application, Magnet peer-review appraisers schedule a site visit. The program director helps nurses and Magnet champions on staff prepare by having data they need and ensuring they are ready to share accomplishments. Obtaining Magnet status is an immense reward for those involved. The entire organization gets energized by it, according to Quinlan.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, like you conquered the universe,” Adler said. “You can see the pride in others. The staff nurses love getting the award, because it validates what they do at the bedside.”
Debra Anscombe Wood, RN, is a freelance writer.
Traits of a successful Magnet program director
Knowledge of the organization: Most successful Magnet program directors have historical memory of the organization, which enables the person to track down important pieces of evidence, said Linda C. Lewis, MSA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, executive vice president and chief ANCC officer.
Writing and computer skills: The challenge is to edit the document so it is easily read and highlights the excellent work of nurses in our organization, said Donna Baird, MSN, MPH, RN, FNP-BC, NE-BC, Magnet program director and nurse educator at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J.
Ability to engage people: Being able to connect well with others using a positive approach that becomes contagious leads to success, said Lenny Gorelik, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Magnet coordinator at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.
Communication and collaboration skills: Directors need to be able to work with people and ensure the organization is meeting the requirements, said Patricia Quinlan, PhD, MPA, RN, CPHQ, Magnet program director and senior director, chief nursing learning officer at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Leadership abilities: Magnet program directors must be able to lead projects and a team, Quinlan said.
Project management skills: Program directors coordinate all aspects of the Magnet project and must be able to plan and see it through, said Maggie Adler, MSN, RN-BC, Magnet program director and associate director of Standards & Quality at NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt, N.Y.
Mentoring abilities: Magnet program directors are helping new nurses understand the exemplars in their practice, said Janice W. Moran, MPA, BSN, RN, director of Magnet operations for ANCC.
Enthusiasm: You have to believe in the project, because no one else will believe if you don’t. You are the champion of Magnet at your facility, Adler said.
Source: Nurse interviews