Magnet Conference Highlights 'Magic' of Transformed Nursing Environments

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By Jennifer Larson, contributor

October 18, 2013 - “The Magic of Magnet” was the theme of this year’s American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Annual Magnet Conference. It was a fitting theme for a convention that was held in Orlando, Fla., home to Walt Disney World. In fact, the nurses had the entire Disney Hollywood Studios Park to themselves for the conference’s welcome event.

But it’s definitely not magic that enables hospitals to achieve the prestigious Magnet status from the ANCC in recognition of their commitment to excellence in nursing practice. It’s hard work--sustained over a long period of time with buy-in from everyone in the organization.

The conference theme was designed to highlight what ANCC refers to as “the transformative power” of the Magnet journey.

The ANCC was especially pleased with this year’s conference turnout: more than 7,000 nurses from 23 different countries attended at the conference, which was an increase over last year.

During the conference, the ANCC announced a new organizational overview change. Going forward, organizations that submit documentation for Magnet status must have an action plan showing they’ve targeted the goal of having 80 percent of its registered nurses obtaining a degree in nursing (baccalaureate or graduate degree) by 2020--and they must show they are making progress toward that goal. This dovetails with the Institute of Medicine’s call to boost the percentage of RNs with baccalaureate degrees from 50 to 80 percent by 2020.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center is also experiencing some changes moving forward. Executive director Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, recently announced her impending departure, as she is leaving to take a position with GetWellNetwork. Her successor has not yet been named.

And the ANCC recently welcomed Linda C. Lewis, MSA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, as the new director of the Magnet Recognition Program, coming to ANCC as the chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing for Forsyth Medical Center, the flagship facility of Novant Health, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In a video overview of an October special supplement in the Journal of Nursing Management (JONA), entitled “Demonstrating the Value of Magnet,” Lewis described the current state of the program: “ANCC Magnet program is more than 20 years old, and it stands as a credential that marks the gold standard in nursing service and patient care. Magnet organizations have achieved the highest levels of excellence in care delivery, practice environments, nursing and patient satisfaction, as well as superior organizational outcomes. Simply put, Magnet is excellence.”

The JONA special supplement, containing nine research articles on the impact of the Magnet program--for nurses, patients and organizations--was distributed to 2013 Magnet conference attendees.

Along with many other aspects of healthcare, the Magnet journey has increasingly focused on outcomes. Lewis pointed out that in the new 2014 Magnet application manual, “50 percent of the evidence required is outcome-related, and it is a well-defined roadmap for nurse executives to achieve and sustain superior outcomes.”

Magnet awards for 2013 

Lehigh Valley Health Network of Allentown, Penn., received the ANCC’s 2013 Magnet Prize for its telehealth innovation, which encompasses 12 individual telehealth programs that reach 17,000 patients each year. As sponsor of this award, Cerner awarded a $25,000 purse to Lehigh to continue the program.

The ANCC President's Award was given to Billye J. Brown, EdD, RN, FAAN, for his “invaluable contributions to the nursing profession” over the course of his career. Brown supported the original research leading to the establishment of the Magnet program.

International leader Jeanne Floyd, PhD, RN, CAE, received the HRH Princess Muna al-Hussein Award for her tireless efforts to advance standards of excellence in nursing and health care worldwide. She is also a former executive director of the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Awards presented to outstanding clinicians during the conference included:

  • Transformational leadership: Lisa Hartkopf Smith, MSN, RN, CNS, AOCN, Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for her work helping shape her hospital’s new cancer center, including the creation of a patient-centered interactive chemotherapy kit.
  • Structural empowerment: Debra Holbrook, RN, SANE-A, of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., for her advocacy on behalf of forensic nursing. ANCC noted that her perseverance “has changed the way victims of sexual violence are cared for in the United States and around the world.”
  • Exemplary professional practice: Christopher Tod Brindle, MSN, RN, CWOCN, of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, Va,, for his work to transform his hospital’s ability to provide the best wound care to patients. In fact, his hospital achieved a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers from 8 to 2.4 percent based on his contributions.
  • New knowledge, innovations and improvements: Samantha Weimer, BSN, RN, CCRN, of University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., for her work translating new knowledge into nursing practice to improve care for frostbite and burn patients. One example is her leadership of an interprofessional quality improvement team to develop a standardized protocol for treating patients with severe frostbite.
  • Empirical outcomes: Elizabeth Bradshaw-Mikula, MSN, RN, CPN, of Children’s National Medical Center, Heart Institute, in Washington D.C., for her work with newborns with critical congential heart disease.

Next year’s ANCC Magnet conference is scheduled for October 8-10, 2014, in Dallas, Texas.

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