Healthcare Innovation In Nursing - Mayo Center for Innovation

What Represents Nursing Excellence?

Post Written By Susan E. Mazer

Since Florence Nightingale established nursing as a profession with its own standards of practice in the 1800s, nursing has continued to mature and push for improving the quality of care for patients. This is not about trends or traditions, though.

Rather, every nurse takes on the role of primary caregiver to each patient whose health is under his or her care. The responsibility of caring for the patient is one that is continuous, over each 24-hour day, and demands a kind of intimacy that pulls at the nature of human relationships.

Nightingale distinguished nursing this way: “The surgeon may save the patient’s life, but the nurse shows the patient how to live.” Nursing is about process, about minimizing suffering and tending to every detail of the patient’s condition. Nursing is about compassion and empathy.

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At the 2015 Magnet conference last week, 9,500 nurses came together to celebrate nursing excellence and innovation in nursing practice. Without question, the American Nursing Credentialing Committee (ANCC) has set a criteria to identify the best of nursing practice and the organizations that empower their nurses to achieve higher standards.

This year, the “Ebola Team” from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA, received the highest Magnet award. They were recognized for establishing protocols of caring for Ebola patients and saving the lives of patients — including two of their own staff.

Members of the Emory team include critical care and medical surgical nurses, along with a host of interdisciplinary partners. In addition to the direct care they provided, the team compiled its safety protocols and posted them on a public website. More than 20,000 providers have downloaded the protocols for their use.

What is most significant about how nurses innovate is that they are confronted with challenges in real time, when whatever protocols they are familiar with may not work with a particular patient. In the heat of crisis, they do what is needed in middle of never before events.

Critical thinking and critical action saves lives. And, often, these events, such as the Ebola outbreak, demand selfless courage.

Magnet celebrates new knowledge, acknowledges extraordinary nursing excellence, and raises the bar for the future. Without a doubt, our future is blessed with thousands of nurses caring with skill and compassion each day.

Here’s a video of Erik Whitacre, the final keynote speaker at Magnet this year with 4,000 singers from 100 countries who have never met each other — but, in the spirit of music, participated in a virtual choir. Each person recorded his/her own voice singing one part, watching a video of Eric conducting. Harmony in the world sounds breathtaking!