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Hiring only BSN grads; reapplying for Magnet® recognition

Murray, Kathleen MSN, RN, CNA

doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000398918.48141.e0
Department: Leadership Q&A

Vice President of Patient Care Services, Baptist Medical Center Downtown, Jacksonville, Fla.

Q I'm a CNO who has made the decision to only hire BSN graduates, unless the nurse currently works for the hospital. I'm receiving a significant amount of pressure from our local community college for not hiring its graduates. Am I wrong?



I would recommend that you take on the initiative to establish a local CNO leadership group to work with all academic nursing programs in your geographic area to evaluate the following:

  • What vacancies will each healthcare organization face with the exodus of the aging workforce?
  • Do all of the healthcare organizations have funding available to support tuition reimbursement?
  • Are the facilities strategically planning to revise the care delivery system to include more highly trained bedside nurses?

After you have a clear road map, develop a strong partnership with local academic institutions, inclusive of the local community college. Start by setting up a meeting with the deans of nursing from the colleges. Develop an agenda and include the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health" report.

The IOM report recommends that "nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression."1 A clear recommendation from this key message is to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, hospitals will need to be working in partnership with academic nursing programs.

Collaboration will be imperative to establish guidelines for the sharing of resources, the availability of tuition reimbursement, and the potential of joint funding to provide a seamless process for nurses to obtain their BSN degree. But don't stop there! What will be the strategic plan for all nurses in the geographic area to obtain their MSN degree? Their doctorate?

Q Our organization first achieved Magnet® recognition in 2002 and again in 2006. We recently reapplied and failed. It has devastated the staff. How can I motivate my staff members to apply again?

The first course of action is to clear your head of the negative emotions of not obtaining Magnet redesignation for your organization. You'll need to take time for yourself to assess the areas of deficiency that were identified. All eyes will be on you because what you do in the aftermath of this disappointment will clearly set the tone for your organization.

You'll need to work closely with your leadership team because they'll be experiencing significant disappointment after being successful in achieving Magnet designation in 2002 and redesignation in 2006. Regardless of the setback, allow your staff time to process the experience of defeat. As the leader, you need to be honest and open with your staff members and directly address their feeling of disappointment.

Here are some key points that can help you lead your team back to success:

  • Don't minimize the outcome.
  • Provide communication to all stakeholders about what caused the setback.
  • Don't foster an environment of blame.
  • Concentrate on the positive.
  • Provide a supportive infrastructure for your leadership team so they can get over the negative experience.
  • Reenergize your leadership team members so they can lead the organization to a successful outcome.
  • Work with your unit-based managers to make sure they're in a positive frame of mind to help their staff deal with this setback.
  • Send positive energy and determination throughout the organization.

After you've reenergized yourself and your organization, your staff will no doubt pursue the redesignation journey with new vigor and successfully achieve Magnet redesignation.

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1. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health .
© 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.