By Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN
Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer
For the last few years, some of us have gone to the annual National Magnet Conference. This year, the conference came to us: In October, the Magnet hospitals in Maryland hosted the 2011 ANCC National Magnet Conference. It was an exceptional forum in which 7,768 attendees – primarily nurses -- came to learn, teach, network, share, volunteer and simply celebrate nursing for three days at the Baltimore Convention Center, just a few blocks from the Medical Center. Given this close proximity, more than 200 UMMC nurses and advanced practice nurses were able to participate and benefit from what the conference had to offer.
A showcase of best nursing practices of Magnet hospitals, the annual conference is both a celebration of accomplishment as well as a venue to gather to share evidence-based practices. It is an energizing event, one where attendees return to their work environments ready to improve their nursing practice and equipped with recommended methods and evidence to do so.
I had the privilege of chairing the Maryland Magnet Committee, which comprises the Chief Nursing Officers and Magnet Program Directors from the six Magnet-designated hospitals in Maryland. For the past year, this small group partnered with our colleagues from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The members of the committee were responsible for planning 30 minutes of the Opening Session, which included uniquely Maryland entertainment and a video that highlighted Magnet nurses in Maryland. The committee also planned and implemented the hundreds of volunteer hours required for such a large conference; oversaw the creation of a quilt that is designed and created by the host state, and facilitated tours of our hospitals for international attendees.
The Naval Academy Band from Annapolis kicked off the program and treated the audience with rousing music that lifted our spirits even higher than the already palpable enthusiasm of the crowd. While they played, images of Maryland's landmarks, bridges and landscapes graced the screens.
Think about it -- almost 8,000 nurses together in one huge room. Let's just say there was an abundance of energy and excitement! The conference began with our Maryland Magnet session, where we welcomed the attendees to our state and shared some information about health care in Maryland. I had the honor of addressing the attendees and explained there are 46 acute care hospitals and 12 specialty care hospitals in Maryland with a total of about 12,500 acute care beds. Maryland hospitals care for approximately 700,000 patients who are admitted to our facilities each year. We also see approximately 4.6 million outpatients each year in the EDs and clinics at our facilities. I introduced the Chief Executive Officers and Chief Nursing Officers who joined me on the stage, representing Shore Health, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Franklin Square Hospital Center and Mercy Medical Center. Of course, our own CEO Jeff Rivest was on stage as well.
In my talk, I shared that with the addition of Mercy Medical Center to our Magnet community, there are now six Magnet-designated institutions in Maryland. Four of us are in Baltimore City, one is in Baltimore County and one is on Maryland's Eastern Shore. We are connected by our collegiality and collaboration, as well as our Bay Bridge that spans the Chesapeake Bay. As a group, we decided we would include the image of a bridge on our Maryland Magnets' volunteer uniforms to convey our many connections, both in practice and partnership and across land and bodies of water.
In addition, I explained the Maryland Magnet institutions decided to ask Richard Chisholm, an Emmy Award-winning Maryland-based documentary filmmaker, to spend a day with five nurses, one at each of our Magnet hospitals. His charge was to capture the essence of being a Magnet nurse. Our video was completed while Mercy was still on its journey to Magnet excellence, so only five medical centers were represented. The five nurses featured in the video are just a sample of the wonderful nurses in our state. Our goal was to capture a glimpse of what energizes and inspires each of them, as a window into the passion and dedication that so many of our colleagues share in this profession.
We believe this video captures the spirit of our Maryland Magnet nurses. It is our hope that nurse viewers would see qualities in the five featured nurses as a reflection of themselves and nurses everywhere. UMMC nurse June Guadalupe of the Trauma Resuscitation Unit was the featured nurse from the Medical Center. June represented us well. His professionalism, expertise and compassion were evident as he interacted with patients and providers. The crowd loved the premiere of the Maryland Magnets video. The CEO of the American Nurses Association (ANA) liked the video so well she asked us if the ANA could use it on its website.
The theme of this year's conference was Honoring the Past, Creating the Future. The General Session speakers, posters, exhibits, art gallery and film festival afforded attendees an opportunity to focus on the history and current accomplishments of the modern nurse and imagine future innovations in practice and outcomes.
I have always been impressed by the depth of education and diversity of media used at the annual Magnet conference. This year was no different. Highlights of the conference included:
If you would like to see a video that shows some of these highlights, access http://www.youtube.com/user/ANCCMagnetConference.
In addition, we purchased the link to access the sessions at the conference. This means that all Medical Center nurses have online access to view any and all of the live sessions presented at the conference. To access the sessions, go to www.softconference.com/ancc. See the Intranet version of this Rounding Report to get the username and password that can be used by all UMMC nurses, or ask your manager.
All of us from UMMC were proud that three of our posters were selected for presentation. They included:
Susanne Anderson, MS, ACNP-BS, CCRN, Professional Development Coordinator; Ariel de Vera, BSN, RN, CCRN, SCNII, of the MICU; and Ronetta Lambert, MS, RN, Nurse Manager, Medicine
Joan McFadden-Cain, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager, UHC, Ambulatory Care
Greg Raymond, MS, MBA, RN, Director of Nursing; Anne Naunton, MS, RN, Professional Development Coordinator; and Edward Bennett, Director, Web Communications and Technology
It is quite an achievement to be selected for a verbal, virtual or poster presentation at the Magnet conference, as it is one of the most competitive nursing conferences with an average acceptance rate of 22%. Congratulations to our staff members who were selected!
One of the most challenging aspects of the conference for the Maryland Magnet host hospitals was to provide hundreds of volunteers and thousands of volunteer hours. The Medical Center was asked to contribute 500 volunteer hours, which we did through 158 people. Our volunteers were coordinated through our department of Clinical Practice and Professional Development and ably led by Rachel Hercenberg, BA. Erica Bergstein, BS, proficiently coordinated the registration for the UMMC participants. Of our volunteers, 152 were nurses, which means about 6% of the 2,500 Medical Center nurses and advanced practice nurses participated in the conference. Typically, we have sent 15 to 20 nurses to the Magnet conference when it was held in other states, so we were thrilled so many of us could participate this year.
A sea of volunteers in red shirts -- all Maryland Magnet nurses -- helped people find their way, supervised conference sessions, introduced speakers and facilitated panel discussions. The Medical Center nurses who served as volunteers loved their assignments. They repeatedly commented about how exciting it was to be part of the conference and its energy. The volunteers were also able to attend many sessions and exhibits, view the posters and network closely with other nurse volunteers from around our state and nurse attendees from around the country and world.
One of the special traditions of the Magnet Conference is for the host state to oversee the creation of a quilt. The Medical Center's very own Mary Rutter, a nurse on BMT, was the leader of this effort. Mary wanted to create a design for the quilt that integrated history and images from the state of Maryland. Using a "Baltimore album" quilt template, Mary crafted a beautiful design that around the letter M, for Magnet, Maryland, University of Maryland Medical Center and -- although not intentional -- Mary. She integrated this with the state flag, the iconic crab, the Bay Bridge (to honor our connections across the state) and the state flower -- the black-eyed Susan.
While not a quilter, I wanted to take part in the quilt to support the effort and be part of the Maryland Magnet hospitals' contribution to the ANCC, where quilts of past Magnet Conferences hang at their central office. I sat down at the table where Mary and other quilters were stitching. Everyone attending the conference was invited to place several stitches in the quilt. As we stitched, the nurses around the table discussed what they were learning at the conference, shared information about their facilities, and mentioned the friends and colleagues they had unexpectedly encountered. The quilting experience had a sense of calm and community, and Mary's creative and technical quilting talent was evident to all who participated. You can see photos of Mary and the quilt in our Magnet slide show.
To thank and recognize the University of Maryland Nursing volunteers and attendees, Dean Janet Allan and I held a reception at the Campus Center. The room was abuzz with people sharing information, concepts and innovations they were exposed to at the conference. Everywhere I turned, I heard "Did you go to...?" or "Did you see...?" or "Guess who I ran into?!" We had a great time at the reception and we were all amazed at how many of us were able to benefit from the conference. You can see many photos from the reception in the slide show.
The conference ended on Thursday afternoon, but the international attendees stayed to tour Maryland Magnet hospitals on Friday. We hosted a terrific group of nurses from Australia, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Tori Walker coordinated the tour of UMMC and our visitors walked through BMT/9W, the Stoler Pavilion, 13 East/West, Medical IMC, SICU, Surgical IMC, CCU/PCU, MICU, Adult Psych, PES, and Geropsych. We concluded the tour with a lunch where we answered questions and had a general discussion about nursing care and innovations in practice. The American health care situation differs greatly from other countries, related to access and cost, and this discussion reminded us of our country's high expectations of health care options.
The Maryland Magnet hospitals and UMMC nurses and staff put a lot of time, energy and heart into hosting the Magnet Conference in Baltimore this year. Delighted with the ample opportunities it afforded us to learn and network, I believe it was well worth our energy because we all walked away with that energy multiplied and refocused.