What is a Magnet Hospital?

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The designation of “Magnet Hospital” is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This coveted honor helps hospitals attract patients, nurses and other medical staff.

Before achieving Magnet status, a hospital must demonstrate excellence in nursing and patient care as well as innovation in professional nursing practice. Out of the top 20 hospitals on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll 2017–2018, 17 are Magnet hospitals. There are currently 461 Magnet hospitals in the United States, and only 8.28 percent of all U.S. hospitals have Magnet status.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

What is a Magnet Hospital? Infographic

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The Magnet Model

To achieve Magnet status, hospitals must demonstrate a high standard of excellence in five areas:

  1. Transformational leadership: Supporting and advocating for patients and staff, and having strong nursing leaders at every level.
  2. Structural empowerment: Recognizing the contributions of nursing staff, committing to professional development and decentralizing decision-making.
  3. Exemplary professional practice: Showing competence and accountability in professional procedures, systems and practices. Systemically measuring care and outcomes is also essential.
  4. New knowledge, innovations and improvements: Requiring research and evidence-based practice to be incorporated into operational and clinical processes. Encouraging innovation throughout the organization is important as well.
  5. Empirical outcomes: Emphasizing community, patient, workforce and organizational outcomes.

Hospitals need a combination of time and resources to receive Magnet status. Achieving this status takes an average of 4.25 years and costs approximately $2.1 million. However, Magnet hospitals gain an average of $1,229,770 to $1,263,926 in increased revenue per year and can recoup their investment within two years of being accredited.

Why Was It Created?

In 1983, the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals conducted a study to identify attributes of organizations that recruit and retain qualified nursing staff.

In 1990, the AAN approved the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services, using the 1983 study as a framework.

In 1994, the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle was named the first ANCC Magnet-designated organization.

The goal of Magnet status is to identify and systematize nursing excellence, as excellence in nursing can lead to better patient outcomes. Magnet hospitals tend to have a low patient-to-nurse ratio, lower mortality rates for surgical patients, lower hospital-associated infection rates and a shorter average length of stay for stroke patients.

Patients being cared for in Magnet hospitals have a 21 percent lower likelihood of receiving a hospital-acquired pressure ulcer and an 8.6 percent lower mortality rate after a postoperative complication. They also have a 5 percent lower probability of falling while in the hospital’s care.

Magnet status is associated with a variety of benefits. It advances nursing standards, cultivates a collaborative culture, improves the hospital’s reputation and financial outlook, leads to the recruitment and retention of highly qualified healthcare professionals and increases the standard of patient care, safety and satisfaction.

How Does It Relate to Nurses Earning a BSN?

Nurses may want to work at a Magnet hospital for a multitude of reasons. Magnet hospitals often have more BSN-educated nurses, more specialty-certified nurses, less supplemental nursing staff, better work environments and higher rates of nursing satisfaction than hospitals that do not have Magnet status.

Nurses at Magnet hospitals are 18 percent less likely to experience job dissatisfaction and 13 percent less likely to experience high burnout. Magnet hospitals also provide competitive salaries and benefits, opportunities for professional development, highly motivated leadership and colleagues, world-class clinical facilities and a superb reputation.

Nurses earning a BSN are in a good position to work for Magnet hospitals. Even though some nursing positions do not require a BSN, Magnet hospitals hire a higher percentage of BSN-educated nurses than their non-Magnet counterparts.

Approximately 60 percent of clinical nurses working at Magnet hospitals have a BSN, while 30 percent have an associate degree, 6 percent have a diploma degree and 4 percent have either a master’s or graduate degree.