What is a Magnet Hospital?

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You may have heard of Magnet hospitals; you may even be fortunate enough to work in one. For those of you who may not be familiar with Magnet designation, here is why the distinction matters.

What is the Magnet Recognition Program?
The Magnet Recognition Program was created by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to distinguish nursing excellence, innovation and quality patient care. Organizations applying for this coveted status must undergo rigorous examination before being awarded this prestigious designation.

What are the benefits to obtaining designation?
There are many advantages for organizations seeking to achieve designation as a magnet hospital, including:

– Ability to recruit and retain personnel: Lower nurse burnout, decreased RN turnover, increased RN satisfaction.

– Ability to improve patient satisfaction, care and safety: Decreased mortality rates, falls, pressure ulcers.

– Ability to foster a culture of collaboration: Staff is engaged in decision-making, which improves ability to team-build.

– Ability to enhance nursing practice/standards: Improved effectiveness and efficiency, improved quality of care and patient safety.

– Ability to grow the organization successfully and ensure financial success- reduction in staff injuries (including musculoskeletal injuries), reduction in use of RN agencies, reduced turnover and vacancy rate for nurses, reduction in needlestick injuries, competitive advantages for the organization in the marketplace.

National Recognition
Organizations that undergo the process of Magnet designation are recognized as some of the best medical centers in the United States. The US News Best Hospitals in America Honor Roll assesses almost 5000 hospitals to rank the best hospitals/medical centers across 16 different specialties. In 2012, 12 of the 17 medical centers that made the honor roll are Magnet organizations. In the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, 8 organizations have Magnet designation.

What do nurses think about Magnet Organizations?
Research involving Magnet organizations shows that nurses working in these organizations report higher levels of satisfaction and experience less burnout. Lower mortality rates, falls, and pressure ulcers, as well as increased patient satisfaction, make these organizations attractive to nurses seeking work. Magnet hospitals enjoy a great reputation among nurses as being great places to work, encouraging education, collaboration and teamwork. Approximately 8% of hospitals (395 hospitals) are Magnet-recognized in the US.

A study of 564 hospitals across four states, spearheaded by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, showed that surgical patients who were cared for in a Magnet hospital were 14% less likely to die compared to patients cared for in hospitals without Magnet designation. Study leaders attributed the differences to investment in highly educated and qualified nurses, nursing innovation and an emphasis on education in magnet hospitals. This is just one study demonstrating that achieving magnet status is well worth the cost to institutions undergoing the strenuous process.

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