Blog » Navigating a Hospital’s Magnet Journey
They’re dedicated nurse leaders who have a passion for excellence. They’re the force that drives a hospital’s Magnet journey. Though their titles vary — director of nursing professional practice, director of professional nursing practice or, in the case of Jacqueline Collavo, MA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, director of nursing operations and Magnet recognition program —these professionals are charged with ramping up their health care organizations to achieve and maintain the American Nurse Credential Center’s prestigious Magnet status.
Calling the Shots recently caught up with Collavo, Magnet program director at Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, to discuss her role in the hospital’s Magnet journey. Since she began directing the program in 2004, the West Penn Hospital has achieved Magnet status twice and is currently eyeing its third designation.
Calling the Shots: How did you progress to your current role?
Collavo: I progressed with years of involvement in nurse leader functions, professional development, recruitment and retention initiatives. I was the manager of the neonatal ICU for 16 years. I became the Magnet program director and then director of nursing operations. From 2007-2011, I returned to grad school to complete a master’s degree, and I’m contemplating returning again to earn a DNP. The role of nurse leaders going forward really needs to be master’s prepared, if not doctoral prepared.
CTS: What drew you to this role?
Collavo: I have always had a passion for quality patient care, safety, and nursing excellence. Retention and satisfaction of staff are the keys to success. Strong retention builds staff competence and produces quality outcomes. This is what Magnet stands for!
CTS: What are the main responsibilities of your job?
Collavo: Director of nursing operations covers it all. My span of control and responsibility includes working alongside the CNO. I must also mentor, educate, and support our nurse managers and staff to be accountable for all that they do. They “own their business” and are responsible for making it successful, meaning they must “own their unit” and all that happens there to achieve positive outcomes, including decreased infections, falls and bed sores and strong patient satisfaction.
I round on all nursing units, and visit staff and patients. I help them whenever needed. I am there to support them and help them to remove barriers to good care. They understand that all patients are to be treated as if they were a member of their family, providing the best care possible with good communication to patients, families and to each other on the unit.
CTS: How do you factor into a hospital’s Magnet journey?
Collavo: As the director, I am like the captain steering the ship. I need to lead and keep people on track, but it is the staff who make a difference in the lives of our patients every day. They are the lifeline to our patients. Our nurses, physicians, and all staff are empowered to make decisions to impact care to keep us performing at our best. You must be among the best of the best to achieve Magnet! It is not an easy process. But anything worth having is worth working for. It is a journey—always striving to be better!
CTS: Does every hospital need a Magnet director?
Collavo: I believe every hospital needs a director to perform the functions required to achieve excellence and Magnet recognition. In today’s world, nursing directors wear many hats and perform many roles. One director is usually is responsible for Magnet standards.
CTS: What’s the most rewarding part of the job?
Collavo: Most rewarding is working with staff and leaders every day to make a difference in the lives of our patients. Mentoring nurses and seeing them excel at what they do is amazing. Nursing is the most trusted profession in the world and is so rewarding! To have the sickest patient, or a mom or dad of a tiny but most critical patient in our neonatal ICU, say thank you for caring for them brings tears to my eyes. We must remember it’s the little things that make or break a patient’s stay with us. So we must be on top of our game and promote excellent care at all times.
CTS: The most challenging?
Collavo: Most challenging is probably keeping staff engaged and inspired. Nursing in today’s health care arena is tough. It is hard work to retain staff. Resources become fewer and fewer because health care is a business.
CTS: Where is your hospital on its Magnet journey?
Collavo: We are on the journey to our third Magnet designation! The document is due to ANCC August 1, 2016. We were the first hospital in Pittsburgh and in western Pennsylvania to achieve Magnet. We’ve been Magnet designated since 2006!
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