What’s Your Journey? – The Nursing Perspective

What’s Your Journey? – The Nursing Perspective

Part two of a three part series
Sue Bratton, RN is enrolled in American Sentinel’s RN to BSN online nursing program. Bratton, a long-time medical professional, took the leap to advance her education, which will ultimately help achieve her personal goals while simultaneously helping her medical facility continue along the path to achieve Magnet status.

Whenever a hospital embarks on the Magnet journey, it’s a collaborative effort to meet all the requirements needed to obtain this prestigious designation. And that means there are also many individual journeys involved – the process will affect every floor nurse, manager, or nursing executive in a different way, depending on each person’s personality and role within the organization. These individual journeys are shaped not only by changes within the hospital, but by each nurse’s starting point and personal destination.

Maury Regional Medical Center, in Tennessee, is a hospital with a long history of being recognized for excellence. In 2013 alone, the hospital was named a 100 Top Hospital and Everest Award winner. As it works toward designation under the Magnet® Recognition Program, the nursing staff is seeing many changes. Sue Bratton, RN, BSN student at American Sentinel has been with Maury Regional for 20 years, first as a staff nurse and then as a nursing supervisor.

Bratton received an associate’s degree in nursing in 1993.  At one time, she had considered the idea of studying to become a nurse practitioner. Like many nurses, however, Bratton put her educational aspirations on hold for many years while she was busy with work and family. That all changed when Maury Regional set out to pursue the Magnet designation. “It was very much the push I needed,” she said. “Magnet requires nurses in a supervisory role – like mine – to have a BSN.” Bratton is now enrolled in her first semester of the online RN-to-BSN program at American Sentinel University. She hopes her coursework will allow her to make positive contributions to the culture of excellence that Maury Regional is actively pursuing and she takes pride in the numerous awards and recognitions the hospital has received.

Bratton has seen a cultural transformation take place at Maury Regional even before the hospital began the Magnet journey, going back to when the hospital delved into the Planetree Designation Program. Planetree is an initiative to define, implement and measure truly patient-centered care.

“It’s very much outside-the-box thinking; for example, we changed our policy so patients can visit with their pets while they’re in the hospital,” Bratton explained. “It’s a totally different mindset and a different culture. This is going beyond holistic care; it’s putting an emphasis on comfort, asking what we can do to make a hospital stay more pleasant instead of worrying only about things like sterility and strict visiting hours.”

Bratton also notes that hospitals applying for Magnet status must demonstrate that they’ve implemented a decision-making model known as shared governance, which refers to a complex balance of power between floor nurses and hospital leadership. She is participating in a policy and procedures committee that is dedicated to improving operational performance – and that gets nurses directly involved with quality, safety and satisfaction projects. “We are strongly encouraged to participate,” Bratton said. “Every nursing unit has its own unit council, and there are all kinds of different committees. We also have a suggestion program in place – anyone from a housekeeper or dietician right up to the executive staff can make a suggestion and several have been implemented.”

As Maury Regional and its nurses continue on their journeys to excellence, American Sentinel University is supporting them through an educational partnership. Currently, 58 nurses employed by Maury Regional are enrolled in an American Sentinel degree program and another 67 are in the application stage. Nursing education and nursing excellence go hand-in-hand: there’s currently a long list of respected agencies that have concluded RNs should be more educated – and a large body of evidence to support this conclusion. It’s no surprise that many hospitals are taking note and acting on these recommendations.