Inspired, energized and proud are just a few of the ways that Brigham nurses and nurse leaders described their experience earlier this month at the annual Magnet conference in Philadelphia.

“One of the biggest takeaways I had from the conference was how the Brigham is already doing most of the things that were talked about,” said Monica Walcek, BSN, RN, of the Float Pool, who attended for the first time this year. “Walking away from the conference made me feel proud and thankful that I work for one of the best hospitals in the country.”

The conference, hosted by the American Nurses Credentialing center (ANCC), included 120 education sessions, more than 400 exhibits and 175 poster sessions to celebrate the work of nurses nationally and internationally.

“To come together was energizing, exciting and renewing,” said Monica Tucker-Schwartz, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, senior nurse director of Procedural Services and Magnet Program co-director. “Attendees were able to explore their curiosity, specialty and passion for the nursing profession. The conference was representative of nursing excellence, collaboration, compassion, knowledge and patient/family-centered care – all of the things that Brigham nurses practice each day.”

Bailey Conti, BSN, RN, of Braunwald Tower 16CD, agreed. “Attending my first Magnet conference was an empowering and eye-opening opportunity,” she said. “I was able gain a better understanding of what Magnet truly means and how nurses here at the Brigham are exceeding the norm.”

The conference was especially meaningful this year amid the Brigham’s redesignation journey. The Brigham initially received Magnet designation in May 2018 and submitted its application for redesignation this past July. The next step is for the Magnet Program Office to review the application and either request additional documentation or schedule a site visit sometime in 2023.

“It was truly beneficial to attend the conference during our redesignation process,” said Sara Kanarkiewicz, BSN, RN, MEDSURG-BC, of the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit and a member of the Brigham’s Magnet writer team. “The energy at the conference is so positive, and it’s nice to bring it back and share it with the Magnet council and my colleagues. We’ll be starting to conduct Magnet Rounds soon in preparation for our site visit, and it’s important that I take this positivity and energy with me.”

The conference provides participants with the opportunity to see practices and initiatives that other hospitals have implemented in pursuit of excellence.

“It was such an eye-opening experience to meet other nurses from all over the country and even globally,” said Walcek. “I really enjoyed all the workshops I attended, especially a session about human trafficking as the ‘other global pandemic.’  This workshop taught me more about the important role nurses and other healthcare team members have in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking.”

Tucker-Schwartz said she was inspired by the opening session with keynote speaker, Nicole Malachowski, the first female pilot on the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Squadron, who shared her experience after paralysis due to a sudden tick-borne illness.

“She stopped at the end of her presentation to thank all the nurses in the room for our care and compassion,” Tucker-Schwartz said. “To be together and hear and see this remarkable, accomplished pilot and veteran pause to thank our profession was moving beyond words.”