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Long-time nurse reflects on nursing and Magnet during National Nurses Week

Long-time nurse reflects on nursing and Magnet during National Nurses Week
May 6 - 12 is National Nurses Week, honoring the work and sacrifices of nurses.

“Nurses Week is an important opportunity to recognize the many contributions of the nurses at Carle Health,” Elizabeth Angelo, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPHQ, Carle Health senior vice president and chief nursing officer, said. “Carle nurses share their compassion and expertise in hundreds of different care settings and are instrumental in providing excellent care to our patients. Carle is committed to providing an environment where nurses are valued, supported and have opportunities for professional growth.”

Jenny Messier, BSN, RN, ACM, knows nursing because she’s lived it as a registered nurse for 40 years. She also knows Magnet® because she’s been the Magnet program coordinator for Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Carle Eureka Hospital in Eureka, the Carle Cancer Institute in Normal and the region’s physician group offices.

Magnet is a designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for nursing and organizational excellence.

“Our nurses’ professionalism and caring are reflected in our Magnet designations as well as other programs which recognize the strength of our nursing team,” Angelo said.

Messier is retiring this month, giving her an opportunity to reflect on the nursing profession and Magnet.

“The Magnet coordinator role is pivotal in attaining Magnet designation,” Lori Harper, RN, MSN, MBA, NE-BC, director of nursing at Carle BroMenn Medical Center and Carle Eureka Hospital, said. The Magnet designation and redesignation process is intense and detailed “and Jenny is very detail-oriented. She makes sure we’re all rowing in the same direction,” Harper said.

Messier graduated from Mennonite School of Nursing in 1983. She worked as a surgical nurse and in a variety of clinical and nursing leadership roles at two hospitals, as well as at a surgeon’s office, until 2006.

That’s when she came to what was then called BroMenn Regional Medical Center as the manager of case management. In 2014, she was named Magnet program coordinator.

“I tell people that it is the highest recognition that nurses can achieve,” Messier said. Facilities that receive Magnet designation are providing extremely high care and their nurses are involved with decision-making, Harper said.

Messier said “It is highly focused on improving patient outcomes and supporting and elevating nursing practices.”

With Messier as program coordinator, BroMenn achieved Magnet designation in 2017, was redesignated in 2021 and is working on the next redesignation.

Meanwhile, Carle Foundation Hospital (CFH) achieved designation in 2009 and was redesignated in 2015 along with Carle Physician Group and both were redesignated in 2019. Carle Health Methodist Hospital and Carle Health Proctor Hospital were designated in 2004 and redesignated in 2009, 2015 and 2019. As CFH, Methodist and Proctor work on their redesignations, Carle Health Pekin Hospital is working on its first designation, planning to submit written documents in October, with a site visit during the first quarter 2024.

Documentation of nurses’ education level, certifications and turnover are submitted every two years.

“The reason I like the Magnet designation is because it pushes us to be better,” Messier said. “Magnet increases the requirements every time you make a submission.”

To nurses, Magnet is important because it requires organizations to have structures (such as professional development and shared decision-making) in place to support nurses, Messier said.

Magnet designation is one way to attract and retain high-performing nurses – a key focus for Carle Health.

“A lot of nursing students want to work for Magnet organizations believing ‘If they meet those standards, they must be doing something right for their organization and their patients,’” Harper said.

One Magnet stipulation requires that institutions’ nursing satisfaction outperforms national benchmarks. Magnet is a symbol that the facility provides great patient care, Harper said.

Nursing turnover rates increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, so Magnet added two new requirements: institutions need to show what they are doing to reduce nursing turnover and to improve nurses’ well-being.

“Magnet is paying attention to the environment and raising the bar,” Messier said. “That makes us better.”

When asked how nursing has changed in 40 years, Messier highlighted four areas:
  • “Technology has changed a lot of things. We did all handwritten notes when I started. Now we have electronic medical records, which we can see from multiple places.”
  • “I see nursing autonomy growing. Physician respect for nursing has improved.”
  • “I have seen a lot of silos coming down. I see more collaboration among different nursing specialties and disciplines.
  • More surgeries are being done outpatient and that has implications for nursing staffing.
After 40 years, Messier said it’s time to retire on May 25. Debbie May-Rickard, BSN, RN, MHA, has been named to replace Messier and joined Carle Health in March so she and Messier can collaborate on the transition. May-Rickard has been a registered nurse for 40 years and has experience in a variety of roles, including in nursing leadership, Harper said.

“Nursing retention has to do with feeling a part of something bigger than you are, feeling valued and included,” Messier said. “Shared decision-making is a part of that. For nurses to stay, they need to feel they are a part of something. It’s not about money, it’s about feeling cared-for as a person.”

Nurses can help with retention by giving themselves breaks. “We’re not good at that because we take care of others, so we let ourselves be pushed,” Messier said. “Post-COVID, nurses are getting better at saying ‘I need a break,’” Messier said.

“To be successful as a good nurse long-term, you need to invest as much in relationships with your colleagues as you do in your skill set,” Messier said. “You can’t survive without surrounding yourself with good people. Relationships matter.”

Angelo said “Caring is at the foundation of everything we do in nursing. It’s those caring relationships with both patients and our teams that make nursing so rewarding.”

For more information on nursing and Magnet, click here.

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: Bloomington-Normal, careers, healthcare, leader, Magnet, nursing, patients