The Importance of Magnet Status and Nursing

Blog by: Melanie T. Gura, RN, MSN, CNS, CCDS, FHRS, FAHA and Jane A. Soposky, RN, MSN, NEA-BC , Administrative Director, Patient Care Services, Summa Health Systems, St. Thomas Hospital The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) developed the national Magnet Hospital Recognition Program® in 1980.[1] Hospitals that receive a magnet designation are referred to as “Magnet Hospital.” It is the highest honor a hospital can receive for its nursing service. The purpose of magnet status is to recognize healthcare organizations that provide excellence in nursing, growth and development of the nursing staff, and an environment that supports professional nursing practice. The term “magnet” refers to the concept of attracting and retaining quality nurses and the ability of creating a work environment that recognizes and rewards professional nursing practice. This designation fosters a positive work environment and a sense of pride among the nurses. The core values include empowerment, pride, mentoring, respect, nurturing, integrity and teamwork. The ANCC developed eligibility criteria[2] which should exist within the healthcare organization: • Nursing leadership is a single governing authority (chief nurse officer [CNO]) ultimately responsible for standards of nursing practice in all areas, and the CNO must participate in the organization's strategic planning/decision making; • The American Nurses Association's Scope and Standards (2004) for nursing administration should be implemented; • Protected feedback policies/procedures must be in place; • Data collection must include nurse-sensitive quality indicators; • There must be regulatory compliance with local, state, and federal laws; and • The organization must not have any unfair labor practice claims for at least 3 years (from the time of application). Each Magnet Hospital must demonstrate 14 standards based on the “forces of magnetism,” which include quality nursing leadership, effective organizational structure, effective management style, promotional opportunities for nurses, professional models of care, quality care, quality assurance, expertise available to staff, high level of autonomy, active community outreach, positive teaching experiences for nurses, positive perceptions of nurses, positive nurse-physician relationships and high emphasis on personal growth and development. However, in 2008, the process was simplified and the 14 forces were categorized into five components. They include empirical outcomes, new knowledge innovations and improvement, transformational leadership, exemplary professional practice and structural empowerment. The focus of the new model is to demonstrate the outcomes made possible through the organization’s nursing service structure and processes for the patient, nursing workforce, organization and consumer. In our profession, pursuing magnet status is equivalent to an Olympic gold medal.[3] Magnet status will assure patients a proven level of quality of nursing care and should result in acquiring the most advanced medical technology as well as the knowledge to apply it. It should also result in a proven patient safety record and shorter lengths of stay for patients. References 1. Cox KS, Carroll C, Sexton K. Achieving Magnet status: demonstrating nursing excellence. Kansas Nurse 2005;80(7):1-2. 2. 3. Moore VM, Sharkey K. Magnet Hospitals Going for the Gold in Nursing. Nursing 2001;31(11):82-83.