Magnet Hospitals And Higher Nursing Degrees

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Nursing shortages, inadequate staffing, and inefficient organizational structures led to the formation of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® in 1993. Leadership standards, organization, management styles, personnel policies, professional development, and quality of care are a few of the criteria used to determine a hospital’s ability to attract and retain professional nurses (magnetism).

Nurse holding stethoscope in hospital hallway

The goals of the Magnet Program, according to AANC’s “Magnet Recognition Program: A Program Overview,” include stringent nursing organizational structures, and autonomy and clinical authority of the nursing staff.

Nurses furthering their education, whether through a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice, or other graduate-level degree, may want to consider working at a magnet hospital.

Magnet Hospital Recognition And Eligibility Requirements

Hospitals must apply for magnet recognition every four years, even if recognition has already been granted. Hospitals must maintain exemplary nursing standards to keep their status in good standing or risk losing it during the next evaluation period.

The ANCC model for magnet recognition, according to healthcare writer Sue Pierman’s article, “What Makes Magnet Hospitals Different,” include the following components:

  • Transformational leadership – strategic planning, advocacy, visibility, accessibility, and communication
  • Structural empowerment – professional engagement, professional development, teaching and role development, commitment to community involvement, and recognition of nursing
  • Exemplary professional practice – a professional practice model, care delivery systems, staffing/scheduling/budgeting, interdisciplinary care, accountability, ethics, diversity, safety, and quality care monitoring
  • New knowledge, innovations, and improvements – research, evidence-based practice, and innovation
  • Empirical outcomes – a shift from structure and process to a greater focus in the areas of clinical, community, workforce, and organizational outcomes

Qualified hospitals also must meet other eligibility criteria, which St. Thomas Hospital nursing leaders Melanie T. Gura and Jane A. Soposky explain that magnet hospitals must have a chief nursing officer (CNO) in place to govern standards of nursing practice in all areas and to participate in organizational planning and strategy. Protected feedback procedures must also be in place. All nurses must take part in data collection. And finally, the hospital must be in constant regulatory compliance and not have any unfair labor practice claims for a period of three years.

Professional Nurses Benefit Magnet Hospitals

The success of the ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program can be seen in the effectiveness of the nursing organizational structure of qualifying hospitals. Communication moves fluidly in both directions in the nursing hierarchy and between nursing managers and the hospital leadership.

Researcher Margaret L. McClure, et al, studied magnet hospitals and published their findings in “Magnet Hospitals: Attraction And Retention Of Professional Nurses” in Nursing Administration Quarterly.

“In almost every case,” McClure writes, “a picture was painted of an unbroken chain of able and qualified leaders at each level of the organization, starting with the board of trustees and ending with the head nurses.”

McClure’s findings revealed that nurse leaders were generally perceived to be knowledgeable, strong, and highly qualified in their field. They managed their employees skillfully, and were willing to take risks when appropriate in order to achieve their goals.

As researchers continue to study the magnet program, they are finding more detailed information on how superior nursing staffs at magnet hospitals add to the overall success of the institution and the quality of patient care. For instance, a recent study discovered that magnet hospitals experience a significantly lower mortality rate.

“Magnet recognized hospitals continue to demonstrate better outcomes, in this case, lower surgical mortality and failure-to-rescue,” says Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, et al, in “Lower Mortality In Magnet Hospitals.”

Investments in highly qualified, educated nurses lead to magnet hospitals’ success, according to McHugh. Continual improvements in quality and organizational innovation are likely a result of hospitals’ striving to qualify for and retain magnet recognition.

Professional nurses with advanced nursing degrees can enjoy considerable professional rewards at magnet hospitals. Magnet hospital nurses also typically enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction and a greater degree of responsibility than nurses in other organizations.

Duquesne University Master of Science In Nursing Program

Students enrolled in Duquesne University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)can expect to graduate with the knowledge required for work in a magnet hospital. Duquesne offers MSN degrees with concentrations in forensic nursing, nursing education, and family nurse practitioner.

For more information, visit Duquesne University’s website today.