Although nurses have always played important roles in hospitals, there
have been some significant changes in the way in which they work. Iman
Al Kouatly explains that nurses are more knowledgeable now and are treated
more like "partners in care" rather than "followers"
as they were in the past. "Their opinion in patient care is well
respected by other health care professionals and they contribute more
to the decision making process than they used to," she says.
Ghada Hamdar, who has been working at AUBMC for 20 years, sums it up nicely.
"We believe that it takes an integrated effort to provide quality
care to our patients
Nurses are the people who are with the patients
24 hours a day, 7 days a week." It makes sense therefore that any
process that gives nurses a louder voice and that encourages them to take
more initiative would benefit everyone - the patients most of all. Mazen
El Ghaziri, the Magnet project manager, says that nurses are responding
to this encouragement. "Nurses are much more proactive now especially
as it relates to practice and patient care," he says.
Randa Shahine, for example, describes how she and some of her colleagues
at the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) have implemented an
educational program to inform cancer patients and their families about
a number of cancer-related issues. When the center started treating patients
with sickle cell disease, the program was expanded to include this topic
too. According to Shahine, this project has benefited nurses who have
learned more about these important issues and "most importantly has
increased patient satisfaction."
Rima Saad, who also works at the CCCL and is currently enrolled in the
MSN program at AUB, says that she was encouraged by Magnet to propose
initiatives such as the research study that she is currently conducting
on the evaluation of the quality of palliative care at CCCL and to get
involved in outreach activities to promote the image of nursing in the
community. She stresses that under the leadership of Gladys Mouro, Magnet
is a very hands-on process - something that "we not only practice,
but that we actually live."
Although they have already been at it for more than five years now - since
May 2003 - they still have a long road ahead of them. Mazen El Ghaziri,
the Magnet project manager, explains that in addition to the monumental
written application they are in the process of writing, they are also
preparing for a visit from a team of Magnet appraisers who will travel
to Beirut to verify the information in the written application and evaluate
the organizational setting in which nursing is taking place at AUB. "We
have embarked on a journey that will impact patients, nurses, and health
care at AUBMC, Lebanon, and the region," Ghaziri says. Mouro agrees.
"We are making history in the Middle East in the area of health care
that will have an impact on future generations. It may not be obvious
today, but in a few years as more and more hospitals follow this path,
we will see a significant difference in the quality of patient care throughout
the region. This will be our legacy."