Part one of a three-part series
Deborah Lumpkins, MSN, RN, a recent student in American Sentinel’s doctoral degree in nursing practice program (DNP) explains how an advanced degree will help a nurse keep up in a changing and demanding industry.
Maury Regional Medical Center pursues a multi-track path to excellence
Maury Regional Medical Center, based in Columbia, Tenn., serves the population in the mid-southern section of the state. This health care facility has won many accolades and has been recognized for everything from patient outcomes to operational efficiency. In 2013 alone, the hospital was named a 100 Top Hospital and Everest Award winner.
At Maury Regional, the pursuit of excellence is an ongoing pathway. In 2009, after winning the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Award, the medical center decided to embark upon the Baldrige journey and began preparing its application, describing how it excelled in seven categories of performance. At that time, Deborah Lumpkins, MSN, RN, senior vice president, patient care services, chief nursing officer at Maury, recognized that the Baldrige process contained many components that were similar to the Magnet® Recognition Program.
“I believed that working on both would strengthen, not compete with, each initiative,” she said. “Thus, I championed for our organization to take an active role in pursuing Magnet – and in 2010 we added a goal to our Strategic Plan to achieve status as a world-class health care system as recognized by nationally known programs such as Magnet.”
Maury Regional began its Magnet journey by pursuing and receiving designation (in 2011) as a Pathway to Excellence hospital from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Pathway to Excellence program is similar to Magnet, in that it recognizes a positive working environment – however, it places less emphasis than Magnet on patient care and nursing research. According to Lumpkins, the medical center is on track to submit its Magnet application in 2014.
A Transformative Process
The Magnet journey is a natural step for Maury Regional, because it has already initiated an impressive list of outcomes and process improvements – like reducing patient falls and the incidence of pressure ulcers. “The Magnet process is a cultural transformation,” emphasized Lumpkins. “It positively impacts the entire organization. In a Magnet culture, nurses are directly involved in patient quality, safety and satisfaction projects. Pursuing Magnet allows for numerous opportunities for nurses in all areas to be more involved in the operations of the organization.”
Shared governance is an initiative required to gain Magnet designation – and implementing this model of decision-making has been the most difficult part of the process, according to Lumpkins. The term refers to a complex balance between floor nurses and hospital leadership that relies on joint planning and joint ownership of the oversight of nursing practice. “It takes years to hardwire and refine,” she said. “The outcomes of shared governance are rewarding, but implementing it is not for the faint of heart.”
Focus on education
Maury Regional supports continuing education for nurses and the Magnet journey has only strengthened that commitment. “Obtaining a BSN provides nurses with a broader skill set and insight in health sciences, management and leadership,” said Lumpkins. “In 2009, 25 percent of the RNs in my organization had a BSN or higher degree. Today, more than 42 percent of RNs have obtained a BSN or higher degree.” As CNO, she believes that supporting nursing education through programs like tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and mentoring programs provides direct benefits to patients.
Lumpkins herself has recently earned a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP) from American Sentinel University. “My passion is leadership development,” she explained. “I wanted to continue my personal development as an executive and learn additional skills to help develop other leaders. The DNP in executive leadership was the perfect fit for me to achieve my personal goals.”
American Sentinel has been an educational partner to Maury Regional since January 2012. Currently, 58 nurses employed by Maury Regional are enrolled in an American Sentinel degree program and another 67 are in the application stage.