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Highly-influential nursing researcher gives valued insights during Emory visit

Evidence-based practice expert Dr. Margaret McClure, met with faculty and staff and signed copies of her highly-influential books, Magnet Hospitals: Attraction and Retention of Professional Nurses, Magnet: The Next Generation - Nurses Making the Difference, and Magnet Hospitals: Attraction and Retention of Professional Nurses, during a recent visit to the School of Nursing. McClure, whose work established the foundation for the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's), Magnet Program was a keynote speaker at the New Directions in Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice conference hosted at Emory University. Emory Healthcare has three Magnet-designated facilities. The designation represents the nation’s highest level of quality and sustained excellence in nursing care.

The School of Nursing spoke with Dr. McClure about nursing quality and excellence during her visit. The interview is summarized in the Q& A below.

Q: How would you describe nursing excellence and why is it such a focus right now?

A: Excellence in nursing is a very complex thing to look at because everyone expects nurses to be kind and caring. But, they have technical aspects of their care that also have to be grounded in a lot of good education. One of the difficulties we have is that a lot of people believe that you don’t really need much education – you just need a kind heart and a strong back and maybe a good pair of feet. You need people who are well prepared for the job, but you need people in good situations that are made good by their employer.

Q: How does nursing education support the objectives of the Magnet designation?

A: The factors related to Magnet care are factors related to good practice - with exception to the ones related to administration. Nurses who know what they’re doing know where to go to work. That’s what Magnet hospitals supported. People are drawn to places that have good administration, high standards – the right philosophy of care.

Q: What impact do nurses have on quality, service and cost?

A: They have total impact. The reason why people are admitted to hospitals is because they need nursing care and if they didn’t need that care, they’d be outpatients. There are large numbers of hospitals that are totally unconscious of that. People often think that you only need good doctors on your staff. But, the truth is that good doctors won’t stay at a hospital that doesn’t have fine nursing. Those two things are totally interdependent. They’re totally relying on each other. You can’t have great care unless both sides of that equation are there.

Q: How can nurses inspire Magnet principles wherever they choose to practice?

A: First of all, they have to want to. Secondly, they have to be in a situation where they have a voice. One of the things about Magnet hospitals that we found is nurses have a voice. People want to know their opinion if they have something to say. If they’re in a situation where that voice is not listened to, if they don’t have the opportunity to speak up and to give ideas and to help make the place better, then they can’t do anything. But, that’s true of every employment situation.

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