Grace Ogiehor-Enoma, RN, MSN, MPH, CNA, BC

Disclosures

June 13, 2008

My personal and professional growth is intertwined with the decision I made more than twenty years ago to become a nurse educator - "a nurse who is responsible and accountable for staff education and development to support continuous improvement in clinical practice and patient safety." My goal was to provide nurses with comprehensive education in a dynamic environment of continuous learning. Working for a Magnet Hospital has allowed me to realize my dreams.

A Magnet hospital recognizes the interrelatedness between professional development and patient outcome. Ordinarily, hospitals do not invest in staff development. Nurse educators are seen as organizational added costs. However, attaining excellence in nursing practice through the Magnet Recognition Program has transformed my hospital into an environment that permits patients to receive excellent nursing care from nurses who are continuously enhancing their learning. Professional development has become a priority for my hospital. In a Magnet hospital like Elmhurst Hospital Center, higher-level educated personnel are valued to support the clinical staff in achieving safe, effective, efficient, patient-centered care. Furthermore, working for a Magnet hospital has made me recognize the responsibility nurses have to influence safety, quality, and efficacy of care, and the essential competencies required to fulfill this responsibility.

I work for a Magnet hospital because Magnet hospitals cultivate a climate in which staff members mature professionally in the pursuit of advancement and excellence in practice. Staff knowledge and participation in an interdisciplinary approach are fundamental to ensuring quality outcomes and patient and staff satisfaction. As such, education and professional development in a Magnet hospital is viewed as the underpinning for safe, appropriate outcomes and is central to all activities within the hospital. As a result, I am back in school for my doctoral degree, thanks to the Magnet program and support from my Magnet hospital!

Magnet designation is nursing's top honor, accepted nationally as the gold standard in nursing excellence. There is an unequaled sense of accomplishment that goes with working in a Magnet hospital. There is pride in achieving a new height in nursing practice and career development. Not only am I proud to be working in a Magnet hospital, I am more than thrilled to say that my Magnet hospital is the first and only New York City Health and Hospital Corporation hospital (out of eleven in the system) to be designated Magnet. It was the first city hospital in New York State and the third public hospital in the nation to have attained this recognition. Working in this Magnet hospital has prompted me to remember Martin Luther King's words:

 

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." (Martin Luther King)

Magnet status has transformed my hospital into one that motivates nurses and other employees to work with inspiration and moral values, which in turn has brought about stronger feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.

The hospital's leadership value and support the personal and professional growth and development of staff through availability of continuing education programs that include ANCC-accredited continuing nursing education contact hours. We offer leadership training, mentorship, support for charge nurses, and role upgrade guidance. We support certification through the provision of review courses as well as certification review books. We also provide tuition reimbursement program and grant-supported programs and now have the ADVANCE and Career Ladder programs, RN/BSN, MSN, and other on-site programs.

Since Elmhurst Hospital Center received Magnet Recognition, I have seen a greater resolve among the staff to provide clinical care that is research-based rather than "doing things the way we have always done it." Nurse educators help to prepare clinical staff for a new type of practice as members of interdisciplinary teams that emphasize evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and informatics.

During our application and review process on the journey to Magnet recognition, our staff showed a great interest in professional development through nursing specialty certification. To meet this professional development need, and with support from the Chief Nurse Officer, I developed a certification program that consists of specialty review courses and on site testing.

Certification exams are an important tool in measuring nurses' knowledge and abilities. Exams provide nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to meet nationally recognized standards of nursing practice. To enhance nursing practice and to prepare nurses to take their certification exams, I developed review programs for different specialties. Staff who attended the programs were on full-time work release. Review books were purchased for participants and text books were made available to all Med/Surg nurses. The enthusiasm from our staff was overwhelming: 57 staff sat for the first on-site test on October 15, 2005 and further exams were conducted in 2006 and 2007. We will continue to maintain onsite testing and review programs for our staff. This program has helped increased the number of our certified nurses by 47 in three exams cycles. Through the achievement of professional certification, our nurses demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning while maximizing their fullest potential. They demonstrate that they have a specialized body of knowledge and skills that are truly valued in the organization.

Elmhurst Hospital Center is committed to its mission of being the premier healthcare institution serving our greater community by delivery excellence in clinical service, education, and research. Our nurses' dedication and commitment through professional advancement ensure that our mission is a reality. With the Magnet program, hospital administrators and nursing leaders now create an environment supporting participation. They listen to nurses. It is gratifying to work in a Magnet hospital! Show me an actor who does not want to win the "Oscar" and I will show you a nurse who does not want to work in a Magnet hospital! To me, working in a Magnet Hospital is like winning an Oscar: a hospital that is nationally recognized for nursing excellence, and a hospital that value nurses contributions to safe, efficient, and effective care. Thank you ANCC for the Magnet Recognition program!

 


This content is provided by American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for publication on the www.medscape.com web site.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) internationally renowned credentialing programs certify nurses in specialty practice areas, recognize healthcare organizations for nursing excellence through the Magnet Recognition Program®, and accredit providers of continuing nursing education. In addition, ANCC offers an array of informational and educational services and products to support its core credentialing programs.

ANCC is passionate about helping nurses on their journey to nursing excellence. Visit ANCC's web site at www.nursecredentialing.org

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA).

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