Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

Magnetics of Patient Safety, Quality Care & Compassion

October 11, 2013

magnet_heartComing from the 2013 Magnet Conference in Orlando last week, it’s hard to describe what it feels like to be in the presence of 8,000 nurses whose sole mission is to care for patients and be caring while setting new standards for quality and redefining excellence.

The Magnet movement began in 1979, in the middle of the worst nursing crisis to date when there was high turnover and the quality of nursing was threatened. For the hospitals whose nurses stayed, the question was what were they doing that was so extraordinary to keep them.

Today, the Magnet designation represents the best of the best – 393 hospitals mostly in America and a few abroad. What each hospital does as part of this program helps inform a better future for our communities and raises the bar for patient safety, quality care, and compassion.

Being magnetic in the context of healthcare is about attracting the best and repelling the unacceptable. This image is clear and the push for new heights of excellence at the organizational level and, most importantly, at the bedside is continuous.

More than 35% of the Magnet hospitals include The C.A.R.E. Channel as an exemplar of excellence.  And like the Magnet hospitals, we do not stand on our laurels. Each year, we update C.A.R.E. programming and take stock of what more we can do to support the patient experience by writing white papers, sharing research reviews, and spreading the successes of our 700+ client hospitals.

The challenge for those of us in healthcare is how to experience and create “magnetics” for our own values, mission, and personhood. How do we attract that which expresses and radiates who we are and what matters to us, and reject and resist that which negates or undermines our own value and values?

Healthcare in the U.S. is in turmoil. The changes in the economic model are also, by their very nature, pushing or threatening the expression of our values. It is easy to set aside everything or anything that feels outside of the main objectives of our changing system, which are a confusing mixture of regulations and penalties aimed at improving patient safety and satisfaction while holding down costs.

Most patients try to make sense of what is happening to them. Once discharged, they may or may not recall all the details, but they do come away with a sense of the main objectives of those who took care of them. And, if the goals of the hospital are in conflict with those of the patient, the conflict itself becomes his or her takeaway.

Nursing magnetics of caring, empathy, and compassion, safety, and comfort are stronger than their counterparts of impersonal dismissal, lack of engagement, lack of caring, and investment in healing.

And that is the healthcare challenge every day, with every person and every decision.