Who we attract: Nurse Magnet visit coming soon!

September 30, 2016  //  FOUND IN: UMHS News,

The team that includes nurse specialists MaryAnn Hayes, far right, and Cathy Lewis, second from right. The other team members are, from left-to-right, nurse Courtney Meagher, Dr. Michelle Caird and physical therapist Chris Tapley.

At UMHS, the journey to provide the highest standard of care and improve health outcomes for patients is never complete. It takes consistent hard work and dedication — especially by those on the frontlines of patient care.

Soon, our staff’s diligence will pay off with a site visit that could lead to Magnet designation, the highest achievement in nursing.

Such a visit would not be possible were it not for nursing innovators throughout the health system — innovators like Cathy Lewis and MaryAnn Hayes, clinical nurse specialists on 12 West at Mott who serve pediatric patients following posterior spine fusion surgery.

In 2009, Lewis and Hayes say they and their nursing colleagues noticed an inconsistency in patient care. “There were differences in length of stay, pain management and other aspects of care,” Hayes said. The differences, she said, were leading to inconsistent outcomes for patients.

The two convened a group of specialists — including surgeons, dietitians, therapists and representatives from Child Life — to explore these issues and carry out an evidence-based project that identified areas where care could be improved.

“We found support for fast-tracking feeding after surgery, we found a better schedule for administering oral pain medications and we were able to use activity, diet and medication to re-establish our patient’s elimination patterns,” Lewis said. “All of that combined to substantially improve patient outcomes and have shortened hospital stays from an average of five days to three days.”

The changes were not just beneficial to the patients.

“Our nurses feel much more comfortable caring for patients because the process is now so well outlined,” Hayes said. “And others in health care have been studying our changes and writing about what we do here.”

A transformative journey  

UMHS has long strived to lead the way in nursing. “Nursing excellence is not a new goal, but one that serves as a beacon on our journey to truly transform patient care,” said Marge Calarco, PhD, RN, NEA-BC and UMHS’ chief nursing officer.

With that in mind, the health system began the process of pursuing Magnet designation in 2012.

Magnet status, given out by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, is the highest honor in nursing and attained by only 6 percent of U.S. hospitals.

In June, UMHS submitted a 300-page document of nursing best practices to the ANCC. Among the documentation was an outline of the changes implemented by Hayes and Lewis.

Next, Magnet appraisers will visit the hospitals from Dec. 12 until Dec. 15 to confirm accreditation.

“This [site visit] is a testament to the exceptional work [our employees] do every day,” Calarco said. “I could not be prouder.”

What to expect

The ANCC will use the upcoming site visit and recently submitted documentation to ensure that UMHS hospitals demonstrate a commitment to quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

In preparation for the appraisers, UMHS has been undergoing a mock Magnet site visit this week. The mock visit is an important milestone in the Magnet journey, better preparing staff members to meet the demanding expectations set forth by the ANCC.

As the process moves forward, it is important to know that everyone at UMHS — not just those in the nursing community — have a role to play. Every employee should stay informed about the journey and faculty and staff should reach out to nursing colleagues to learn how they can help provide care and services that meet or exceed Magnet’s rigorous standards.

Magnet designation is a mark of excellence that UMHS can achieve together.