An U.S.-German partnership: A story of hot air balloons, a purple suit and how twins became triplets
By Anne Pedersen (MSN, RN, NEA-BC)*, Ashlee N. Skarzenski (MSN, RN, CPAN, CEN, NEA-BC)*, Erin Klinge (MSN, RN, CNL, NE-BC)* and Amanda Rekitt (BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN)*
*University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hamot, Pennsylvania
On the surface, one could wonder what would connect UPMC Hamot, a 400-bed hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania in the U.S. to the Klinikum in Osnabrück, a 749-bed teaching hospital in northwest Germany?
Beyond Linda Aiken’s research that shaped healthcare in the U.S., the answer is simple yet profound. It is found in the mutual love of nursing, drive for quality outcomes, and the pursuit of excellence. However, the insatiable quest for the holy grail of the Magnet designation is what unites us. This prestigious achievement earned by only 7% of American hospitals, is now being introduced systematically to European Union. We desire to mentor, support, and inspire our European kin to make the journey we made accomplishing Magnet status in 2018 and 2021.
Last April, we were elated upon learning of our “twinning” with Klinikum Osnabrück’s hospital leadership team nearly 4,000 miles across the globe. Since that introductory meeting, our work together has been exciting, enjoyable, meaningful, and productive.
On July 19, 2021, both hospitals achieved milestones. UPMC Hamot received official notification from the Magnet Program office of our 2nd designation and Klinikum Osnabrück hosted their official kick-off celebration, embarking on their commitment to the pursuit of Magnet. Through virtual attendance, UPMC Hamot and Klinikum Osnabrück teams were able to participate in each other’s events. Who will ever forget the videos of UPMC Hamot’s CNO in a purple suit and the Klinikum Magnet team going aloft in a hot air balloon?!
In August of 2021, the twins became triplets! We welcomed the highly esteemed Avera McKenna from Souix Falls, South Dakota (five consecutive Magnet Designations) to the relationship. Over the past year, meetings have taken place on a bi-weekly basis. These gatherings range in size from the smaller group of Magnet Program Directors to the larger group which encompasses the Chief Nursing Officers, Directors of Nursing, Clinical Directors, and other key members of the Magnet Team. During these meetings, the three teams have collaborated on the completion of Klinikum Osnabrück’s Gap Analysis and the creation of their Magnet Steering Committee. Valuable data, concepts, and feedback are equally shared as each team garners new perspectives and comprehension on bolstering the nursing practice environment as well as strategies towards enhancing employee engagement.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of our partnership, both U.S. hospitals are planning an in-person visit to Osnabrück, Germany in May, incorporating the Magnet4Europe Learning Collaborative in Cork, Ireland.
We cannot wait for May! Meeting face-to-face and further building the connections with our colleagues at the Klinikum. We are devising our agenda for five fantastic days in Osnabrück. How can they have twice as many beds as UPMC Hamot, yet half the nurses? There is so much to learn and understand.
Later this year, Klinikum Osnabrück will travel to the U.S. to visit UPMC Hamot and attend their first ANCC National Magnet Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During this trip, Osnabrück will be welcomed in sharing in the experience of “walking the stage” in honor of UPMC Hamot’s 2nd Magnet Designation. In sharing this pursuit of nursing excellence with our partners from across the country and world, we have gleaned a global understanding of the impact of Magnet on nursing.
It has been an immensely beneficial experience, perhaps best summarized by the sagacious words of the influential leader Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.