The Journey to Magnet

It’s Not Just a Designation, It’s the Destination


NorthBay Healthcare President/CEO Gary Passama, center, joins the critical care nurses cheering the Magnet designation.

Magnet. To the general public, the word probably conjures images of a U-shaped children’s toy. But to any R.N. worth her salt it means one thing: Nursing Excellence.

The five-year journey to Magnet inspired many changes
at NorthBay.

At NorthBay Healthcare, it has meant a five-year journey that involved hundreds of nurses and clinical colleagues all working together to earn the coveted Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), something only 6.6 percent of hospitals in the United States can claim.

To do so, a facility must exhibit exemplary patient care, positive clinical outcomes and innovations in professional nursing practices.

Chris Stevenson, R.N., NorthBay’s Magnet program director, left, and Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Richerson celebrate after receiving the coveted Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The announcement that was made on Dec. 18, 2014, launched a months-long celebration at NorthBay, which will culminate in October when a contingent of nurses celebrates the awarding of the designation at the national Magnet conference in Atlanta.

And it’s a nice punctuation mark on a 43-year career in nursing for Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Richerson, who has been with NorthBay Healthcare for the past 15 years, and will officially retire July 31.

“When I started here, I had a vision of what we could accomplish,” says Kathy. The long laundry list included creating a cardiovascular program, establishing NorthBay Medical Center as a trauma center, and elevating nursing services.

“I think we’ve done all those things and more,” she says with pride.

The five-year journey to Magnet inspired many changes at NorthBay, from the creation of a Shared Governance structure made of nearly 100 nursing and clinical colleagues, to the establishment of an Evidence-Based Practice & Nursing Research Fellowship Program.

Shared Governance makes recommendations to management on all nursing-related issues and patient care policy, while the Evidence-Based Practice & Nursing Research Fellowship conducts nursing research and evidence-based practice projects to contribute new knowledge and implement best practices in patient care.

Envisioning, empowering and documenting all along the way was Chris Stevenson, R.N., NorthBay’s Magnet program director.

“It was truly a labor of love to help our organization become a Magnet organization,” says Chris, who compiled the 13.75-inch-thick document that chronicled improvement and innovation in nursing practices at NorthBay for review by the ANNC.

She is already focused on new and exciting improvements to help NorthBay maintain the designation, as standards continue to rise.

“Magnet designation affirms the value of the work our nurses do every day, caring for members of the community who entrust us with their healthcare needs,” says Chris.

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