A Magnetic change
Thank you for publishing "Leading the Change Reaction" by Theresa Ricke-Kiely, EdD, and Cathy Robey-Williams, MBA, MS, RN, in the July issue. This article on the Magnet® journey is applicable to those who yearn for solutions for how to get started on the epic process toward Magnetism! I'm a new nurse manager in a small community-based hospital and I've already begun to think of how we can work toward establishing a Magnet culture. At my previous place of employment, I was an active member of the Magnet nursing process within the facility and enjoyed expressing my opinions and helping to initiate change. Now as a nurse leader, I realize the value behind the Magnet process and the need for nurse involvement as we embark on the many changes that are coming to healthcare.
Learning about the successes and opportunities of one South Carolina hospital presented in this article can help other facilities prepare for their own journey. At my facility, one such way is focusing on the everyday needs and obstacles of front-line staff and attempting to resolve these issues. By establishing a process improvement team (PIT), which includes front-line staff, we discuss issues and bring to light new challenges. Through the PIT team, we've begun our first steps down the road toward Magnet recognition. However, it's still a challenge to motivate and empower staff members to speak their minds and be heard regarding changes to practice. By establishing relationships and developing respect among colleagues, you can create an environment in which challenges to tried and true ways of thinking can flourish.
The Magnet process can also provide many opportunities to recognize what valuable assets nurses are to a facility. Daily recognition of those nurses mentioned by patients, families, colleagues, and fellow staff can help to build team morale, confidence in the unit, and the success of the organization. Currently at my hospital, a peer voting process is used to select a Nurse of the Year on each unit, and the honorees are recognized by the entire organization. Some of these things may already be in place at your facility and they'll place you at the entrance to opening the door to your Magnet journey.
Most importantly, even when you achieve Magnet recognition, nurse leaders must keep the passion alive. Provide information about progress and new ways to get involved. Update staff members weekly on new events relating to Magnet initiatives and show where progress has been made. Hear the calls for change that staff members bring to the table, and empower and support their efforts to positively influence patient care. The only way to live and breathe the culture of a Magnet institution is through the nurses and nurse leaders who live it. As I look for even more ways to start this change in culture at my facility, I will keep these findings with me so that I, too, can be a leader in the change toward Magnet recognition.
Elizabeth Steuber, BSN, RN, PCCN
Nurse Manager, ICU/CCU Memorial Hospital Pembroke Pembroke Pines, Fla.
I was pleased to see the article "Transformation Through IT" by Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, in the July issue. Technology encompasses many aspects of nursing practice; as a board-certified informatics nurse, I'm encouraged by and fully support the idea of involving nurses in the system life cycle. Systems that are designed, developed, and implemented by nurses for nurses notably contribute to the support of nursing and the increasing use of technology in nursing practice.
Ms. Sensmeier states that technology can improve efficiency, safety, and quality of patient care by "removing the human potential for error." Although I believe the potential for error can be reduced significantly, I don't agree that the risk is ever fully removed. Technology is only as good as its users and the data they enter. It's also important that nurses don't become so reliant on technology for decision making that they cease to think critically. Technology allows for faster, easier access to patient data, but it remains the nurse's responsibility to analyze the information and make appropriate decisions.
I encourage nurse leaders to take an active role in enabling nurses to participate in the implementation and use of technology in nursing practice while promoting critical thinking in an effort to positively impact the future of healthcare.
Lisa Levine, BSN, RN-BC
Supervisor, Clinical Systems Memorial Healthcare System Hollywood, Fla.