By Marianne Ditomassi, RN, DNP, NEA-BC, FAAN, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), US
Koen Balcaen, RN, CCN, MSN, CNO, University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium (UZ Leuven), Belgium
“As a Magnet organization, it is our responsibility to support other healthcare organizations on their journey toward excellence. The Magnet4Europe initiative is instrumental in making this happen through establishing formal twinning relationships between U.S. Magnet-designated hospitals and hospitals in six European countries. At Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), we were thrilled to learn that we were matched with the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium (UZ Leuven)”, says Marianne Ditomassi, RN, Magnet Program Director.
Since May 2021, a core team of nurse leaders at both MGH and UZ Leuven partnered via zoom to learn first-hand about how to make the tenets of Magnet Recognition come alive in their organizations. They also critically-reviewed the Magnet standards and identified UZ Leuven’s strengths to build upon and showcase but also identified where there were gaps that could be addressed through new initiatives. This included developing strategies to promote staffs’ voices in decision-making and establish processes to benchmark key quality and patient experience outcomes.
Koen Balcaen, the Chief Nurse, and Allied Health Professional Officer at UZ Leuven noted, “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to travel to Cork for the Magnet4Europe Collaborative and finally meet our twins in person. At the meeting, we presented the work-to-date in launching an Interprofessional Advisory Board at UZ Leuven. When discussing ways to promote shared decision-making, we had been invited by Debbie Burke, Senior Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nurse at MGH to observe the Staff Nurse Advisory Committee she leads. I immediately knew I wanted to create something similar at UZ Leuven.”
The interprofessional advisory board at UZ Leuven will be initially chaired by Balcaen to promote bi-directional communication among front-line nurses, social workers, dieticians, psychologists, spiritual caregivers, occupational and physical therapists, and speech therapists with senior management. He has plans to identify a front-line clinician to co-lead once the group starts meeting. The first area of focus will be to discuss the development of an interprofessional practice model to guide practice.
The model will also serve as a framework for creating a strong professional practice environment to support clinicians to provide high quality care to patients and families. The interprofessional advisory board will serve as a platform to discuss concerns and identify possible improvements, provide an opportunity for coaching the membership in how to advocate and escalate issues through appropriate channels, and serve as an initial step towards developing a robust shared decision-making structure.
“Our first interprofessional advisory board meeting will be held on Monday, June 27th and our call for membership has been well-received. I can’t wait to update our Magnet4Europe colleagues at the Magnet Conference in Philadelphia in mid-October on our progress”, says Balcaen. Ditomassi adds, “This is going to be a busy Fall – our colleagues at UZ Leuven will be hosting us in Belgium and we’ll host them at MGH following the Magnet Conference. It is going to be transformational for our nursing and leadership teams to experience one another’s practice environments to promote mutual learning.”
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848031.
Intervention Hospital Magnet® is a trademark of ANCC registered in the United States of America and other jurisdictions, and is being used under license from ANCC. All rights are reserved by ANCC. ANCC’s consent to the use of the Intervention Hospital Magnet® mark shall not be construed as ANCC sponsoring, participating, or endorsing the Magnet4Europe intervention.