I had a wonderful experience serving as an Ambassador during Magnet® week. I had the opportunity to meet so many of my talented, caring and devoted fellow nurses throughout Spectrum Health. To hear their amazing stories and to feel that I was a part of this magical journey called Magnet has never before made me be so proud to be a nurse. At Spectrum we are one united force with just one goal in mind – our patients. At times I felt so little among the smart nurses I met, and at times I felt energized by the enthusiasm the nurses showed for their profession, but most of all I felt proud to be a nurse. It was a privilege to be chosen to serve as an Ambassador and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I have so many things to bring back to my unit that I heard and saw during my travels throughout the campuses. Spectrum Health nurses are so deserving but nurses don’t always take credit for their work in excellence, it’s just something they do, part of their nurturing do good personalities. This Magnet experience taught me that it is ok to stop and pat myself and my fellow nurses on the back and say: Work well done.
The Magnet site visit was an exciting experience that highlighted the robust nursing culture at Spectrum Health. The culture of nursing embraces the provision of the best care possible for our patients while having a family-like relationship with one another. It was an emotional and tearful experience as nurses described their passion in advocating for the unique needs of their patients. For example, organizing a wedding in the acute care setting as well as ensuring the presence of family members, who required ambulance transfer, to be at the bedside of a loved one during their final moments.
The Magnet appraisers found a culture where concern for the patient was paramount and where nurses demonstrated autonomy and pride. The nursing staff on one unit expressed their love in being part of an organization in which they are continually exposed to cutting edge cardiac interventions with the best technology and surgeons in the area to care for the most critically ill patients. What struck me the most through this experience was the overwhelming feeling on every unit that they were a family. The powerful statements from the nurses reflected the quality of the relationships nurtured at Spectrum Health. I received a letter from one of the appraisers expressing her thanks for being invited into such an amazing facility and she stated, “I am certain you know that you work for a great place that provides superlative care and a supportive environment for staff.” This was demonstrated throughout the week of the Magnet site visit and as expressed by all the appraisers. The enthusiasm could be felt throughout the hospital during the entire site visit. The things we do at Spectrum Health as nurses for our patients are pretty amazing and as one of the appraisers said it, “we are hiding our lights under a bushel.”
Being a Magnet Ambassador meant a lot to me. It was a huge honor to represent Spectrum Health Nursing. I am proud to be a nurse here; it is impressive to see the strength of our profession! I found most surprising the level of compassion seen. At most of the meetings, there was sharing of safety stories and caring moment stories. Nurses from all departments, all across Spectrum shared stories of advocating for patients. I had goose bumps, maybe a tear or two, from hearing many nurses describe their own caring moment stories. There were many stories about how nurses felt when their patients passed away. They spoke to how united the team was with supporting the families and each other. Just hearing how these nurses went to such extreme measures to help with moments of grief was beyond words…amazing, just amazing!