Transformational Leadership

Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Physician Group meet a 10 year milestone in ongoing pursuit of nursing excellence
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When Carle became a Magnet Recognition Program® designated organization, it marked a turning point in the level of nursing and healthcare excellence provided to the community. Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Physician Group celebrates 10 years of designation – an achievement only 3 percent of other U.S. healthcare providers have achieved.

Chief Nursing Officer, Pam Bigler, DNP, remembers spearheading the very first submission process.

“The program and supporting research for the program was bought to my attention by Allen Rinehart, RN, MSN, TNS, CEN, who was the manager of the Emergency Department at the time,” said Bigler. “The nursing leadership team had been tasked with improving the nursing environment during a time when the organization was struggling with nursing recruitment and retention. The first journey took us almost seven years to ensure we had all the standards in place that promote excellence in nursing practice and meet program requirements.”

After the first designation, the following two were substantial efforts as the standards change every few years. With the elements of Magnet at work in the organization, it was all about providing the evidence and the outcomes of the work. The Magnet submission confirmed in 2019 was the first time the team sent electronic documents to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

“With each designation the bar is raised. Other Magnet organizations are excelling and that means we need to be better than most organizations,” said Bigler.

Being better than most organizations means, in part, Carle continues to champion the professional governance model that is evidence-based to produce better patient care.

“Magnet designation is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate every part of the organization that enables us to provide excellent care,” said Elizabeth Angelo, DNP, associate chief nursing office and senior system vice president. “There is a collective sense of pride in achieving the designation and all it means. At the end of the day, Magnet is all about patient outcomes – and our staff and leaders work every single day to provide the best possible care to the people we serve. Everyone contributes to this, as we couldn’t provide patient care without the distinct work of every team.”

While 10 years is a feat not met by many other healthcare organizations, there is no plan to stop there. Being a Magnet organization is often a deciding factor for both nurses and providers to join the Carle health system.

While the committee will take a small content development break between submissions, the process to maintain a Magnet designation never really stops.

“Magnet designation occurs on a four-year cycle,” said Angelo. “Over the next four years, I hope we can build on the incredible legacy of nursing excellence achieved over a decade of Magnet designation. We want to strengthen our professional governance structure, implement a new professional model of care to guide our practice, and continue to facilitate nursing excellence and growth.”

Congratulations to everyone who has helped maintain this remarkable accomplishment for the past 10 years. The most recent designation obtained in 2019 expires in 2023.