How philanthropy helps ensure continued nursing excellence

Being granted Magnet® status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is one of the highest honors a hospital can receive. It indicates a hospital has the best in nursing care, an engaging work environment and a culture of excellence and innovation. And philanthropy plays a role as Advocate Children’s Hospital aims to achieve the Magnet® designation in July.

Andrea van der Hoek and Dana Johnson, RNs at Advocate Children’s Hospital, presented at the National Nursing Ethics of Caring Conference at UCLA in March 2019.

“Through philanthropic support, our nurses are able to continue their education, participate in research and attend conferences for professional development,” explained Wendy Micek, Director of Nursing Excellence and Innovation at Advocate Children’s Hospital.

In 2019, more than two dozen nurses were able to travel to conferences across the country.

“Those nurses bring what they’ve learned back to their teams, who can then implement that knowledge and improve patient outcomes and the practice environment. At the same time, nurses are expanding their professional networks and enhancing relationships.”

Nurses who have the opportunity to engage in these types of research and evidence-based practice projects can have a huge impact on patient outcomes.

“For example, some of our pediatric patients’ central line dressings were becoming soiled during bathing, leaving the line potentially exposed to microorganisms, which required additional sterile dressing changes. Some of our nurses advocated for a product they’d learned about at a conference, which allowed for a barrier of protection so the lines wouldn’t get soiled,” said Wendy. “We saw a decrease in infections, which resulted in improved patient care.”

Finding ways to provide educational opportunities for clinicians in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging, especially when our internal and external conferences have been canceled.

“We’re looking at virtual learning opportunities to bring in experts from professional organizations and schools of nursing to speak virtually to our staff. Even though we can’t travel, we still need to find ways to innovate.”

In fact, the ANCC team responsible for awarding the Magnet® designation will be visiting Advocate Children’s Hospital virtually in July.

“We’ll create a Magnet® site visit welcome video and find creative ways to demonstrate our enthusiasm and commitment to nursing excellence virtually,” shared Wendy. “It’s new to us all, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Several Advocate Children’s Hospital nurses attended the 2019 Vermont Oxford Annual Quality Congress in Chicago thanks to donor support.

How you can help

You can help drive excellence in nursing care by making a gift to support nursing education and research. Contact Emily Vernon at or 630-768-3832 to learn more.

“Nurses are with patients 24/7, and they are exploring innovative ways to care for our patients and families. They’re constantly striving to improve the patient experience and promote better outcomes,” Wendy said. “The support they receive to further their education and explore research and evidence-based practice projects makes an enormous difference to Advocate Children’s Hospital and our communities.”