The journey to Magnet redesignation

December 10, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

Maria Bobo, D.N.P., R.N., WHNP-BC, CENP, NPD-BC, is familiar with running an institution’s journey toward redesignation for the Magnet Recognition Program®, having done just that at a previous job.

What’s different about U-M Health’s experience, however, is that it comes amid a pandemic that has pushed redesignation back a year and changed its format to a virtual visit.

But that doesn’t mean the experience has been any easier — or the payoff any less impressive once the journey comes to an end.

That’s because becoming a Magnet-credentialed health system is an honor achieved by only 9% of hospital systems in the U.S. It’s the highest honor bestowed upon a group of nurses.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, U-M Health had to adjust its 2021 plans for Magnet redesignation. Leading that charge is Bobo, who is the director of nursing professional development and education and the Magnet Recognition Program.

Recently, Headlines caught up with Bobo to learn about the current journey, her career and more. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: What role do you play in the Magnet process?

MB: As the Magnet Program director, I am responsible for leadership, coordination and administration of all aspects of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® at Michigan Medicine.

This includes ensuring the development, dissemination, and implementation of Magnet’s model structures. Incorporating these processes throughout the organization will warrant successful redesignation. 

Q: Can you go more in-depth about what the Magnet program is?

MB: The Magnet Recognition Program was developed in 1994 to recognize health care organizations for quality patient care and outcomes, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. 

Magnet designation is the “gold standard” for nursing excellence and the highest nursing award a health care facility can achieve. Magnet standards are high, with only 8.9% of U.S. hospitals currently achieving this designation. We achieved our first Magnet designation in February 2017, and we are in the process of achieving Magnet redesignation next year.

Q: What is so important about Magnet redesignation?

MB: Achieving Magnet status serves patients, employees and the organization. Benefits of Magnet redesignation include strengthening and maintaining a culture that attracts and retains outstanding professionals, supports improvements in patient care, safety and satisfaction and fosters a collaborative culture across all disciplines.

At the same time, Magnet status helps patients and the community identify hospitals where they can expect a higher level of care. Additional benefits include advancing nursing standards, practice and empowerment and investing in the ongoing nursing education and career development needed to provide safe, high quality patient care.

Q: What should people expect regarding the Magnet journey in the next few months?

MB: We are currently preparing for a Magnet site visit that will be held Jan. 25-28. The purpose of this four-day virtual site visit is to verify, clarify and amplify the content of the written documentation that we submitted earlier this year to the ANCC. In addition, they will be evaluating the organizational setting in which nursing is practiced, while assessing practice operations and how our interdisciplinary team works together to achieve the highest standards.

During the site visit, the Magnet appraisers will be meeting with hospital and nursing leaders, various nursing committees, interdisciplinary groups and teams and conducting virtual unit tours. Over the next month, the Magnet department is focused on preparing our facility for our site visit. Look for more information in the upcoming weeks.

Q: How can you support Magnet if you aren’t a nurse?

MB: Although Magnet status is a recognition of nursing excellence, it really is the entire organization that achieves Magnet status. While the nearly 6,000 nurses will lead the effort, Magnet is an institutional designation.

To be successful, we need the support of every Michigan Medicine employee. Magnet designation is a mark of excellence that we achieve together! Magnet facilities welcome and nurture interprofessional collaborative practice, with a focus on mutual respect, autonomy and shared values.

You can help by promoting a positive culture by establishing and maintaining positive collaborative working relationships that contribute to meaningful clinical outcomes, employee satisfaction and patient satisfaction.

Q: Outside of focusing on Magnet, how are you planning to celebrate the holidays this winter?

MB: This year for the holidays, I will be staying close to home and celebrating with my family and friends.

My family will gather at my home on Christmas Eve, which is a long-standing family tradition. We will enjoy a delicious holiday meal, play holiday-themed games, exchange gifts, and sing the 12 Days of Christmas. Also, I plan to spend my New Year’s Eve watching the Wolverines in the Orange Bowl. GO BLUE!

Q: What is one goal (personal or professional) you’re looking to accomplish in 2022?

MB: Of course, my main professional is to lead Michigan Medicine to our second Magnet designation. The past 20-plus months have been difficult for everyone, but especially our front-line staff.

We all deserve to be applauded for our hard work, perseverance, dedication, resilience and commitment to our patients and each other. Achieving Magnet will solidify that we are indeed the Leaders and Best!

Bobo was recently a guest on The Wrap employee podcast to discuss Magnet redesignation. Check out her appearance below or find an audio-only version by clicking here.

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