Magnet Champion nurses who spoke about their personal experiences with Magnet at Nursing Grand Rounds, (L to R) Alexia Marcous, RN, Tower 12A; Rachel Hurd, RN, Tower 10CD/12B; Maura Fodera, RN, Tower 10CD/12B; Maureen Balaguera, RN, CDE, SJPHC; and Lisa Govoni, RN, Cath Lab

Five Magnet Champion nurses presented at Nursing Grand Rounds in January and shared their stories of what volunteering as Magnet advocates and educators has meant to them. In introducing them, Susan Lee, senior nurse scientist, Center for Nursing Excellence and Magnet Champion leader for nursing, said that the Magnet Champion nurses came to the table to learn, to advise and to teach us more about professional practice at the Brigham. Here, in their own words, are excerpts from what they shared about Magnet:

Maureen Balaguera, RN, CDE, SJPHC:
I was familiar with the transformational leadership that has been happening at BWH and about the professional practice model being developed by nursing leadership with Brigham nurses—a practice model for Brigham nurses by Brigham nurses. So, when I was asked to sign on as a Magnet champion, I jumped aboard, had no regrets, and have had a ball ever since. One of the best parts of being a Magnet Champion is meeting people I never would have met before and appreciating what goes on in other parts of the Brigham, as well as seeing all the different, amazing things that Brigham nurses do. So why Magnet? Best professional practice for us, and best outcomes for our patients. If anything, the question should be, ‘why not Magnet?’

Maura Fodera, RN, Tower 10CD/12B:
We have been educating our staff about what Magnet is, and how we already are Magnet. It’s taking what we do every day, and learning how to speak about it. Each unit has been responsible for creating their Magnet poster and for our unit, neurosurgery, we tried to incorporate the professional practice model into the different lobes of the brain. For example, the frontal lobe represents our personality—it’s who we are and as nurses, we’re all effective leaders. We have members on the Nursing Practice Council, in informatics, involved with the DAISY Award program, the care improvement team and a fall prevention committee. All our work supports the four pillars of Magnet and we should be proud of it.

Lisa Govoni, RN, Cath Lab:
I came from Lowell General Hospital, which is a Magnet hospital. I went through the initial journey there, and the redesignation two years ago. When asked to be a Magnet Champion here, I said yes, because I saw how much Magnet designation ultimately means to an entire organization. We presented about Magnet at a staff meeting and gave Post-It notes to everyone in the room, asking them to answer, ‘why do you work here?’ It was powerful. People wrote things like: we take pride in our work; we like our coworkers; and we know we provide exceptional care to patients. Those are the things that highlight what Magnet is all about. I’m very proud to be a part of our Magnet journey and I think that the appraisers will be very impressed with the work we do every day.

Alexia Marcous, RN, Tower 12A:
I’ve been especially impressed by the caliber of work produced by the writers of our Magnet application. If you haven’t read it, take a look. It reads like an exciting book—like you’re learning about the history and the depth of the institution in which you work. It took a little time to learn how to articulate what it is that we do on our units, but once we did, our sense of community just went through the roof and our pride in what we do increased. There have been several new projects that have started, just because people are saying, ‘I have an idea’, and ‘You mean, we can actually do that?’ My big aha moment: seeking Magnet designation is not a one-shot deal. This is not a matter of just being recognized for the work we’ve done; it’s also about using this framework to guide us going forward. By applying the Magnet model going forward, we will enhance and further our culture of excellence.

Rachel Hurd, RN, Tower 10CD/12B:
We started the DAISY Award program at BWH to recognize the amazing work of our nurses. DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The award was developed by Patrick Barnes’ family, who wanted a way to say thank you to the nurses who cared for their son before he passed away at the age of 33 from complications of ITP. At BWH, we honor one DAISY Award winner a month. This past month, we had more than 100 nominations and that number has increased every month since we launched the program in October. We present the winner with a “Healer’s Touch” statue; it’s handmade in Zimbabwe from a stone that’s known to have healing properties. The DAISY Award is one visible way we recognize the compassionate work of our amazing nurses at the Brigham, just as Magnet recognizes the excellent patient care delivered every day by our staff.”