Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. As seen with the current Coronavirus crisis, they are at the front line of defence and are making a difference not just on individual patients’ lives but also to the community as a whole. Therefore, it is fitting that in order to honour the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
The critical role nurses play was also highlighted recently when Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD), one of the healthcare facilities of Mubadala Investment Company, was granted the Magnet designation, a global credential of excellence in healthcare, from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), marking a major step for the UAE medical sector. CCAD has become the first in the UAE to receive the prestigious designation. In addition, as a facility that opened its doors in 2015, it has become one of the youngest hospitals to earn this credential.
Magnet recognition is only granted to exceptional healthcare organisations that meet the specific criteria outlined by the ANCC. To achieve the Magnet recognition, an organisation must meet standards in quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.
Typically, hospitals that receive Magnet recognition deliver better patient satisfaction, improve safety and enhance the overall quality of care. A Magnet organisation meets the highest standards of nursing practice, so that means that patients can be rest assured that they are being looked after by leaders in their field at all levels.
In order to apply for Magnet designation, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi underwent a detailed review process of all its operational practices including mission, vision and values, as well as policies for transformational leadership, structural empowerment and knowledge improvement. The process concluded with a stringent site visit lasting several days.
Below are excerpts from an interview with Sue Behrens, DNP, Chief Nursing Officer, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:
What is the importance of Magnet accreditation to the UAE?
This accreditation is about advancing the nursing profession in the UAE. With their support, belief and promotion of nursing, both H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, the ‘Mother of the UAE’, and Dr. Fatima Al Rifai, Chair member and secretary of the UAE Nursing and Midwifery Council, had a strong influence on our journey. Their vision and the vision of the nation is to grow the nursing profession. To me, this is about bringing nursing excellence to the UAE, so that we can provide a model for what nursing should be, in order to begin attracting more UAE nationals to the sector.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has a number of Emirati nurses in both patient-facing and leadership roles. Some of whom have played a huge role in getting our transplant programme up and running just three years after opening our doors to patients. We are already seeing growing levels of interest in nursing careers from UAE nationals, both from students looking to study nursing all the way to current caregivers looking to re-train to pursue a nursing career.
What does the accreditation mean for the nursing profession and how does it impact patient care?
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi applied for Magnet accreditation because we’re trying to grow the nursing profession in the UAE and because we wanted to highlight the important role our nurses play in delivering care. I think that, through Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi receiving this accreditation, the perception of the nursing profession in the country will begin to change. It’s about celebrating nurses and their impact on patient outcomes and the safety of the care we as a hospital provide. A Magnet organisation empowers nurses, and values their contributions, making for a happier, more engaged workforce, with career opportunities and the highest levels of patient care.
A great example of that is our advanced practice nurses that we have incorporated into Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. We are the first and only hospital to have nurse practitioners and physician assistants on staff.
We have also established new roles for clinical coordinators, patient educators among others to help us provide the best possible care to our patients and provide nurses with the career progression opportunities we know are so important to attract people to nursing.
What was the review process like for the accreditation?
The process of obtaining Magnet recognition involved caregivers from across our entire organisation, including every single nurse in the hospital. It was an extremely rigorous process. It’s not simply about readiness; it’s about the stories our nurses have to tell. We submitted stories of teamwork within the hospital and nurse-led programmes to improve patient care and well-being. It was a real celebration of all the nursing efforts we have made at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi since opening.
There are multiple pillars to Magnet. It looks at how we care for our own nurses, how we look after their professional development, training, and their career opportunities.
The assessment looks at the tools we provide to enhance their level of practice, as well as the research opportunities we offer them.
Are there any initiatives you would like to highlight?
I am particularly proud of two initiatives that our nurses initiated that really demonstrate not only their commitment to delivering the highest levels of patient care, but to ensuring that our patients have the best possible experience while they are with us, feeling that not only their health but their emotional well-being is taken into account.
Nurses from our neurological long-term care unit developed a programme to take patients outside the hospital setting to enjoy the surroundings and fresh air to uplift their spirits in our hospital’s gardens and outdoor areas.
These patients are primarily post-stroke patients and may have been in the hospital for long periods of intensive intervention. This long hospital admission is stressful both on the patient and family members and inhibits the patient’s environmental stimulation. Our nurses partnered with patients and their families to ensure the programme was a success.
Also, more than 180 of our caregivers volunteered their personal time when ‘Operation Smile UAE’ visited Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to offer transformative surgery for young people with cleft lip and cleft palate conditions. Our caregivers staffed the ward, directed patients, played with the patients, registered and performed the surgeries.
The experience was uplifting for those who participated, with several individuals wanting to repeat the experience and some hoping to volunteer for international missions in other countries.
This article appears in the March/April edition of Omnia Health Magazine. Other topics include AI in healthcare, patient safety, mobile healthcare and further updates around on COVID-19 from the healthcare industry.