Executive Endings - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Executive Endings

Zanet Lester, RN, MSHA Coordinator, CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence

What is a Magnet™ nurse? Among the many descriptive terms I’ve heard are engaged, determined, enthusiastic, tenacious . . .  willing, goal-oriented, creative, collaborative . . .  energetic, role model, optimistic, accountable . . . practice what they preach . . . unwilling to settle for less than the best.

No wonder people say that there’s a palpable difference in a Magnet™ organization. With all that energy, so much can be accomplished to improve outcomes. Recently, I had the opportunity to learn about some of the accomplishments of three Magnet™ hospitals.

At Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, Va., the nursing staff developed a Nurse Research Internship Program. First, they identified barriers to research, such as lack of education about research, lack of resource knowledge, lack of formal mentoring and lack of time to do the research. Then they developed a program to guide patient care nurses through the research process, demonstrate how to conduct evidence based practice studies and build a framework to sustain research into the future. Nurses apply for the internship program, which can range from three to six months, full- or part-time, depending on the needs of the individual and the nursing unit. Nurses in the internship program serve as a resource for best practice questions from the nursing units and assist with hospital focused research, as well as working on their own research projects.

At St. Cloud Hospital, a community hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the ICU nursing staff addressed the need to improve outcomes related to severe sepsis. Their goals were to lower mortality, reduce costs and meet National Patient Safety Goals. They developed a sepsis trigger tool and order set bundle that led to a 48 percent reduction in the sepsis mortality rate in the ICU and a 40 percent reduction hospital-wide over a three-year period.

At AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in New Jersey, the nursing staff recognized the need to develop a Stress Management Approach for handling critical incidents. They identified the emotional impact on individuals and units where a critical incident occurs, the resulting impact on staffing of the unit, and the monetary impact to the unit and hospital. Their goals were to provide immediate intervention, stabilize the situation, facilitate understanding, focus on problem solving and encourage self-reliance. As a result of their work, staff satisfaction improved and retention increased. Their research indicated that their return on investment could be as much as 700 percent!

You may be saying, “I work with nurses like that,” or “We have a sepsis committee working on projects just like that.” And you are right. CKHS Nursing has nursing councils and over 20 interdisciplinary committees all striving for quality and nursing excellence.

And you are those “Magnet-esque” nurses that serve with enthusiasm and tenacity to promote evidence based practice and improved outcomes and, all the while, doing so with compassionate concern for our patients.

We are so proud of what you have accomplished this year, and we thank you for your hard work. To only thank you might imply that our work is done, that all that is left to do is write the Magnet™ document and host a site visit. But no, as Florence Nightingale said in 1914, “Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it, we are going back.”

You and I cannot do it alone, but we can do it together . . .  ask other nurses to join you in your work, in our unit councils, in our nursing councils at large. Where one of our units or hospitals excels, let’s celebrate their triumph and success and continue to reach out to share our best practices. Since we are striving for improvement, let’s ask those with exemplary outcomes for the secrets to their success.

Together we will shine brighter than any one of us could alone!

- From remarks delivered at CKHS Center for Nursing Excellence Mixer, September 25, 2008.