The Magnet Recognition Program®, developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), awards the designation of “Magnet Hospital” to organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing, nursing innovation and patient care. Currently, only 461 hospitals in the U.S. have earned this distinction, according to data from Duquesne University School of Nursing, and out of the top 20 Best Hospitals Honor Roll from 2017 - 2018, 17 are Magnet Hospitals.
As you can imagine, earning this type of title can help hospitals attract and retain top medical talent, and instill a greater sense of trust from patients and the general public.
But, as with all successes in hospital settings, earning distinctions begins and ends with nurses — both the care they provide, as well as the support they receive.
“Magnet Recognition is not merely an award or a badge of honor,” says the ANCC. “It is steadfast proof of a hard-earned commitment to excellence in health care, with contented nurses at its heart.”
Here are three areas to consider as you look to build an award-worthy culture:
When we think of innovation in healthcare, we usually imagine technology — such as improved electronic medical records systems or advancements in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. And while tech-based tools can help foster improvements in outcomes, innovation can come in many forms.
“Many nurses solve problems, use observation, and research to test new interventions on a regular basis that can be considered innovations, but we may overlook the value of these interventions and never share them with the larger healthcare community,” says Karen Innocent, DNP and Executive Director of Continuing Education at Wolters Kluwer in an article for Nursing Center. “Consider how many tips you have given to new nurses during orientation that saved time or saved lives.”
Crowdsourcing solutions to challenges within your hospital can drive innovation, as can developing new training processes or methods for delivering different types of treatment. By documenting and codifying these innovations, you can demonstrate success in this area.
Continued education (CE) and training require time, budget and other valuable resources that may be difficult to come by within your organization. But it can lead to tremendous return-on-investment in staff retention and improved patient outcomes.
Take Magnet-designated Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for example. The hospital covers up to $500 for each nurse’s education for specialty certifications — which can include a prep course, exam costs or fees to attend a continuing education conference.
“For our nurses, just knowing that they have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in their profession speaks volumes for the hospital that provides these opportunities,” says Theresa Mazzaro, RN, CHCR, and Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Suburban Hospital, which has achieved Magnet Recognition.
Ensuring your staff has access to the education they need to advance their skills and the value they offer your institution is a win-win for everyone. And it can also help with earning various honors.
“The other aspect of CE is for all the hospitals that might want to become Magnet or want to stay Magnet, there’s a CE provision that a certain percentage of nurses have to be certified within their specialty,” says Robert Hess, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, in the same article referenced above. “And to get re-certified most people don’t retake the test, they do it by continuing education.”
Patient experience is crucial for many reasons. It impacts HCAHPs scores, reimbursement, and your organization’s reputation among patients and healthcare professionals. It can also affect your ability to achieve certifications and distinctions, like Magnet Recognition.
A study published in Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, based on a survey of Magnet, Magnet-in-progress and non-Magnet hospitals, found that Magnet and Magnet-in-progress hospitals have “significantly (p < .007) higher scores than non-Magnet hospitals on six of the seven questions regarding patient-reported satisfaction with care.”
Improving patient comfort by using a topical anesthetic skin refrigerant before needle procedures, collaborating with patients on their care plans and holding training and refresh sessions to ensure your staff upholds your commitment to patient-centered care are just three ways you can begin enhancing the patient experience within your hospital.
No matter the goals at your hospital nor the certifications and accolades you hope to earn or retain, focusing on innovation, education and improved patient experience is essential to driving better outcomes. By following the examples of Magnet hospitals, you can help your organization rise to the top.