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Marsha Hughes-Rease


Magnet®, Pathway to Excellence®

With 30+ years of experience in Health care and over 10 years of consulting experience, Marsha Hughes-Rease brings a wealth of knowledge about organization effectiveness, culture change management, and group process to her consulting practice.

With 30+ years of experience in Health care and over 10 years of consulting experience, Marsha Hughes-Rease brings a wealth of knowledge about organizational effectiveness, culture change management, and group process to her consulting practice. She integrates this knowledge with her consulting expertise to help Health care organizations operationalize the Magnet® Model to achieve a professional practice environment focused on achieving empirical outcomes in a changing Health care environment.

Marsha has consulted with Health care administrators, nurse leaders, and clinical nurses in 30+ Health care organizations that have earned ANCC Magnet Recognition, or who are on the Magnet or Pathway to Excellence® journey. Using an intentional and inclusive consulting approach, she focuses on engaging clinical nurses, nurse managers, and other key stakeholders to accelerate the achievement of Magnet Recognition or Pathway to Excellence. She collaborates with senior nurse leaders and the chief nurse executive to identify and take strategic actions to create organizational alignment and commitment to the organization's mission and vision.

Marsha’s consulting specialty areas include providing an organizational assessment and gap analysis for Magnet Recognition or Pathway to Excellence, identification of concrete actions to close the gaps, facilitating the development and implementation of a professional practice model, facilitating the development and implementation of a shared decision-making model compatible with the organization's governance structure, review of written documents for Magnet Recognition submission, readiness preparation for a Magnet Recognition site visit, and customized training. Marsha regularly facilitates the two day Journey to Magnet Excellence® workshop. She has also co-designed and facilitates the one day workshop, Empirical Outcomes: Exceeding Magnet Expectations, which provides participants with an integration of practical tools to excel as change leaders.

Summary of Services

  • Helps determine readiness to submit a Magnet or Pathway to Excellence application based on a gap analysis.
  • Conducts a self-assessment that familiarizes participants with the Sources of Evidence in the Magnet Model while simultaneously gathering quantitative data to use as part of the gap analysis report.
  • Conducts a self-assessment that familiarizes participants with the Pathway to Excellence Elements of Performance while engaging them in action planning to address perceived gaps.
  • Conducts comprehensive on-site readiness assessments in preparation for Magnet site visits, a process which includes helping clinical nurses learn a communication technique that reflects self-confidence and competence, and articulates the value of nursing at the unit level.
  • Provides transformational leadership development specifically facilitating peer coaching techniques to address complex issues
  • Uses creative strategic planning techniques to increase staff nurse engagement, alignment with nursing strategic goals, and effective execution at the unit level.
  • Customizes education and just-in-time training on transformational leadership, structural empowerment, and change management
  • Works with senior leaders to design strategic interventions to address performance gaps.
  • Works with nurse executives to address challenges at all levels that may potentially derail the Magnet Recognition or Pathway to Excellence designation process.


  • BSN, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • MSN, Nursing Administration, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • MS, Organizational Development, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


  • American Nurses Credentialing Center – Certificate Holder in Fundamentals of Magnet®
  • Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA – Graduate Certificate, Leadership Coaching
  • Graduate Certificate, Skilled Facilitator, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Professional Memberships

  • American College of Healthcare Executives
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Organization of Nurse Executives
  • American Society of Training and Development
  • Institute of Coaching
  • International Coaching Federation
  • International Leaders Association
  • Plexus Institute
  • Sigma Theta Tau International

Special Acknowledgements

  • Published numerous articles and book chapters including a chapter on Transformational Leadership in the award-winning text, Nursing Management Principles and Practice(2011, Oncology Nursing Society)
  • Served as adjunct faculty member at George Mason University College of Nursing, is a faculty member at Duke Corporate Education, and is a certified Executive Coach.

The movie Selma depicts Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal and public struggles as a leader committed to social change. As I watched the movie, I thought about what it takes to be a transformational leader who changes the mind-sets of people, groups, organizations, and even a nation. During the movie, the audience witnesses King evolving into a leader who demonstrates the full range of personal attributes associated with transformational leadership. These attributes, known as the four I’s, are idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation.

During the march on Washington, D.C., in 1963, it was King’s "I Have a Dream" speech that provided the compelling vision that would help him and others face and overcome the future challenges depicted in Selma. His speech was truly an example of inspirational motivation. As leaders of Magnet®-aspiring organizations, we often underestimate the power of inspirational motivation as part of the change process.

Emerging research in the field of neuroscience and leadership has revealed that inspiration and motivation aroused by transformational leaders help followers use their talents, seek innovative solutions, adapt to new technologies, and adapt to changing environments. In their book Full Range Leadership Development, Sosik and Jung (2010) emphasize that energizing followers during challenging situations, championing collective action and team synergy, and articulating a clear vision of the future can not only create strong emotional bonds but also lead to an increased willingness to exceed expectations. It is this willingness to exceed that is required to create a professional practice environment worthy of Magnet designation.

Although the Magnet Recognition Program® application requires you to have a nursing strategic plan that is in alignment with organizational priorities, having a plan is not enough to inspire and mobilize others to create a professional practice environment. When questioning clinical nurses during interviews or focus groups, I have found most of them to be unaware of the initiatives in their nursing or organization strategic plan and unable to articulate examples of empirical outcomes associated with strategic initiatives.

Along with a plan, chief nursing officers (CNOs) must have a vision that inspires, motivates, and creates a sense of optimism about the future of nursing in their organization. They must also take as many opportunities as possible to share this vision. In other words, CNOs must have their own version of an "I Have a Dream" speech.

Tips for Strategic Visioning

  • Share your "I Have a Dream" speech with your staff so they experience your vision of the future of nursing in your organization.
    • Use a TED Talk format with very little use of PowerPoint slides, graphs, or tables. Remember, you are speaking to their hearts, not their heads.
    • Use your intranet and website to share your vision.
    • Be able to customize your "I Have a Dream" speech when invited to speak in other forums to other stakeholders.
  • Tap into the unspoken dreams and aspirations of others by inviting a group of senior nurse leaders, managers, and clinical nurses to envision the future of nursing in the organization.
  • Encourage them to write their own "I Have a Dream" speech (no longer than a short paragraph) about the future of nursing in the organization.
  • As individuals are sharing their visions, ask the participants to listen and capture the recurring themes.
  • Use these themes as the foundation for the development of a nursing vision for your strategic plan as well as your professional practice model.
  • Once nursing has a vision, you and your staff are ready to talk about how you are going to make this vision come alive. This is a great kickoff to any strategic planning session, because you now know where you want to go as an organization!

This article was originally published in April 2015.

*Use of ANA Consultation Services does not guarantee you will achieve an ANCC credential. ANA consultants and staff cannot influence the actions of ANCC program staff nor decisions of the Commission on Magnet® Recognition, Commission on Pathway to Excellence®, or Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs and the Commission for Nursing Continuing Professional Development..

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