From Oct. 7 – 9. more than 7,000 nurses and nursing executives from around the world gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the 2015 American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet Conference. According to the Magnet Learning Community, the three-day conference served as both a celebration of accomplishment for newly-recognized Magnet organizations and an opportunity to showcase best practices for the nursing community.
Becoming a Magnet hospital requires a significant amount of work to develop the necessary structure in the nursing department. The process is a huge endeavor, which usually takes about 4.25 years and an investment of $2,125,000 on average. But the results are worth the effort. When a hospital is accredited by the ANCC for its nursing excellence and high standard of patient care, it brings the highest level of recognition to the organization's nursing services. Furthermore, research has shown that hospitals with Magnet status report a high level in nurse job satisfaction and experience lower turnover and vacancy rates in these positions. A study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative recently found that achieving Magnet status also increases a hospital's revenue.
At this year's conference, the activities were kicked off on Wednesday with a general session hosted by the leadership of ANCC, as well as the local cohost Magnet hospitals. This was followed by the opening plenary, a presentation by David Marquet, a retired U.S. Navy captain, on creating leadership and engagement at every level of an organization. The talk focused on creating a workplace where everyone is engaged and committed to contributing their full intellectual capacity by taking steps to bring out the leadership potential in everyone. Participants were then able to choose from a variety of sessions that focused on topics such as improving dementia care, decreasing readmission rates for congestive heart failure patients and learning about eating disorders. In the afternoon, conference attendees were also able to visit the exhibit hall or listen to poster presentations before attending a second session of their choice later in the day. In the evening, the conference celebrated the year's accomplishments with a Light up the Night welcome party that featured glow-in-the-dark gear, dancing, food and some of Atlanta's most popular attractions.
On Thursday, guests were able to start the morning with a concurrent session of their choosing and then attend a general session that featured personal stories of nursing from the 2015 National Magnet Nurse of the Year winners. Texas Health Presbyterian's CNO, Dr. Cole Edmonson, additionally spoke about his hospital's experience being the first facility to diagnose and treat an Ebola patient last year.The Exhibit Hall was once again open during the afternoon and more posters were presented. Participants were able to fill their day with three other sessions on topics such as group health and wellness coaching, code of ethics for nursing and animal-assisted therapy.
Conference attendees were also able to attend a breakfast session on Thursday sponsored by Elsevier entitled "Aligning with Evidence Across a Non-Profit Health Care System." The session, led by Alison Mason, RN, MS, the national director of quality informatics at Catholic Health Initiatives, focused on achieving top performance quality through evidence-based care. Guests were instructed in how to use procedures in Elsevier Clinical Skills to achieve this goal and elevate evidence-based practices.
"Learning to professionally create and collaborate is key in nursing."
Friday's schedule started with more concurrent sessions, giving participants additional opportunities to learn more about their particular topics of interest. After a complimentary brunch, two other sessions, time at the Exhibit Hall and more poster presentations, conference attendees sat in on the closing plenary, "The Virtual Choir – Nurses in Harmony," a presentation by Grammy award winning conductor and musician, Eric Whitacre. Whitacre, the creator of The Virtual Choir, uses digital technology to combine voices of thousands of singers in a global chorus, an astute parallel to the importance of peers sharing their talents with each other to create something bigger than themselves. Learning how to create and collaborate in a professional environment is essential not just to nursing, but to healthcare in general.