Structural Empowerment: A Magnet® pillar
By Sarah Wolfe, RN, MSN, professional development specialist and
Clinical Education Department
Jeanine Scott, RN, MSN, clinical education manager
For an organization to achieve the best outcomes, employees across the organization must have the skills, knowledge and ability to make excellent choices and get results. This is the theory behind "Structural Empowerment" a key pillar of Magnet®.
Employees in an organization that has achieved structural empowerment demonstrate common traits--feelings of competence, independence and commitment. They are accountable, effective and better at their jobs.
Salem Hospital has numerous systems designed to achieve this kind of empowerment and to help new employees succeed in such an environment. Two such programs--our preceptor program and our New Grad Residency program--reflect our commitment to recruiting and retaining high-quality nursing staff.
Preceptor education and support
For 10 years, Salem Hospital has required nurse preceptors to receive formal training with the goal of improving the nurse's experience as a preceptor. A preceptor is an experienced and competent staff nurse who has received formal training and who serves as a role model and a resource person to new staff nurses.
Salem Hospital's preceptor program includes:
- Identification of nurses with the clinical and teaching skills to be successful preceptors.
- An Initial Preceptor Class that covers state-of-the-art adult learning styles, building trust, creating goals and measuring progress.
- A biennial refresher course.
Based on feedback from preceptors and new nurses, Salem Hospital has refined its preceptor curriculum to better prepare nurses for the issues they frequently encounter and to develop the skills preceptors say they need.
New Grad Residency program
The New Grad Residency program runs four cohorts each year for newly graduated nurses joining the hospital. The program helps new nurses move from the academic setting to the practice environment, gaining knowledge and forming relationships that will serve them throughout their careers. Steve Buck, RN, BSN; Sarah Wolfe, RN, MSN; David Schultze, RN, MSN; Amy Stokes, RN, MSN; and Jeanine Scott, RN, MSN; from the hospital's clinical education department, developed the program.
Magnet hospitals look for empirical outcome to measure success. The New Grad Residency program gets results. The program has contributed to improved EKG competency, decreased absenteeism, increased retention, and achieved a high level of consistency in nursing activities that are essential for successful, reliable and safe practice.
These are just a couple of examples of Salem Hospital's ongoing commitment to building a strong and highly skilled workforce. We listen to what our employees want, we deliver it and we measure and evaluate our progress, recognizing that empowerment is a process.
We're glad to play a part in helping Salem Hospital do this important work and that structural empowerment enables us to do so.
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