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Part of Western Governors University

September 5, 2019

Nursing & Healthcare

Magnet status: making the most of successful nursing.

A medical team bring their hands together in the spirit of team unity.

lHospitals are always looking to empower their employees to provide excellent care and improve patient outcomes. Attracting and retaining a superior nursing workforce is central to that mission.

The Magnet Recognition Program, developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), recognizes hospitals for a commitment to excellence in healthcare and nursing. Only 498 hospitals in the United States have earned this designation, the ANCC reports, but many are working hard to achieve it.

The Magnet recognition program.

The ANCC grants Magnet status to hospitals that meet certain standards for patient care and nursing quality. But Magnet recognition isn't merely an award. It's an indication to patients that they should expect the very best care. And for nurses, it's an indication that their continued education and professional development are supported, and that their autonomy is recognized and respected.

Achieving Magnet recognition takes time and effort. The process takes more than four years, on average, and it can cost several million dollars. To achieve Magnet status, a healthcare facility must meet a number of requirements. They must:

  • Have a chief nursing officer on staff who actively participates in the organization's governing body

  • Employ nurse managers who recruit, develop, and manage the nursing staff

  •  Have a plan to increase their bachelor’s prepared nurse workforce to 80%

  • Use data about nursing and care delivery to identify areas needing improvement

  • Create concrete ways for nurses to provide confidential feedback about their working environment

  • Comply with the laws and regulations outlined by OSHA and other governing bodies

  • Carry out ANCC-approved patient care policies, credentialing systems, and structural improvement plans

  • Pass regular site observations and evaluations conducted by ANCC officials

These criteria help hospitals and nursing staffs develop evidence-based nursing practices, promote research and innovation, and inspire nurse leaders at every level of nursing practice. Magnet recognition is also predicated on continued professional development and educational opportunities, which lead to greater nurse confidence and autonomy.

How Magnet status attracts nurses.

Nurses who work in Magnet-certified hospitals benefit from transformational leadership and structural empowerment, which fosters a collaborative environment and sustains professional growth. Magnet hospitals take professional development seriously, the ANCC says; they invest in programs that help nurses take their practice to the next level. This, in turn, elevates practice standards across the facility—a benefit to patients and nurses.

According to Nursing Times, nurses who work at Magnet hospitals are more satisfied and engaged in their jobs. In addition, their nurse turnover rates are lower, their nurses are more autonomous, and their patients are more satisfied with the care they received. A study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration found that nurses in Magnet hospitals experienced lower levels of burnout than their non-Magnet counterparts. And a study published in Health Affairs found that patients in Magnet hospitals see better clinical outcomes: surgical patients in Magnet facilities were 7.7 percent less likely to die within 30 days of their surgery, and 8.6 percent less likely to experience complications.

When hospitals pursue Magnet recognition, they demonstrate their commitment to improving the culture and capabilities of their nursing workforce. Through sustained professional development, nurses are transformed into collaborative leaders achieving the highest standards of patient care.

If you're considering where to start your nursing career, a Magnet hospital could be the best choice.

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