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Magnet director leads nurses at Providence Holy Cross to redesignation

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A tree displays leaves with nurses’ memorable Magnet moments written on them.

Insanity. That’s the word Providence Holy Cross Medical Center’s Magnet director used to describe her world as she led the Mission Hills, Calif., facility to its recent redesignation as a Magnet hospital.

Sherri Mendelson, RN,C, PhD, CNS, IBCLC, who also is Providence’s director of nursing research, completed 3,000 pages of Magnet paperwork and kept the hospital moving forward in the process while also adapting to a new CNO, a new CEO, a new hospital wing, a new grandchild and her daughter’s wedding. And just to keep things interesting, the on-site Magnet appraisers arrived in December when the hospital was at its busiest and more staff than usual were out sick.

“It says some good things about the stability of nursing at Providence Holy Cross that even in the midst of change, we were able to maintain our Magnet designation,” she said. “And that we continued throughout all the changes to provide excellent care and continued to attract new nurses.”

After earning Magnet redesignation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Providence leaders pinned all 720 of the hospital’s nurses in a ceremony recognizing the team effort. The nurses wear their pins proudly, but it was the Magnet experience itself that many found most valuable, Mendelson said.

“When nurses would be asked to participate in some of the sessions with the surveyors, they weren’t keen on doing so,” she noted. “But many nurses came back and said it was a highlight of their nursing career. They had a much better understanding of why we are a Magnet hospital and how they fit into a Magnet hospital as a professional nurse.”

Mendelson’s role in the process included keeping paperwork organized, being sure the information it contained illuminated the progress and excellence of the hospital, submitting each component by its deadline and staying within a budget. It required cooperation at every level within every department, she said.

“Our CNO, Ann Dechairo-Marino, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, was a wonderful motivator for the entire staff,” Mendelson said. “One huge help was a group of three nurses who came up with an idea to inspire all the nurses and help them learn about Magnet.”

One of those nurses, Taryn Hearst, RN, said they put up a paper tree with leaves in each unit and department on which nurses and nursing assistants could write their most memorable, inspiring and proud moments at Providence.

The hospital also had Magnet champions who helped prepare staff for the on-site survey. They pointed to examples of things that make a hospital Magnet-worthy and helped everyone see the bigger picture, Mendelson said.

Even with the redesignation awarded, Mendelson doesn’t feel like she can relax. “The Magnet process doesn’t end,” she said. “You have to keep looking at issues and addressing them and consistently keep your eye on the ball to keep the excellence that makes you a Magnet program.”

For more on Magnet, visit www.NurseCredentialing.org/Magnet.

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Lori Fagan is a copy editor. Send letters to editorWest@nurse.com.

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