By Debra Wood, RN, contributor
October 15, 2010 - Two decades after the establishment of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the approval of the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services by the American Nurses Association, Magnet designation remains relevant and vital -- especially considering the changes in health care that are expected to depend heavily on nursing.
Donna King, BSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, FACHE, said the ANCC Magnet program focuses on creating excellence, and is more important now than ever before.
“Magnet is important, more so than ever, because we are being faced with raising the bar in quality and performance and pay-for-performance,” said Donna King, BSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, FACHE, vice president of clinical operations and chief nursing executive at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, a Magnet organization since 2008, and a presenter of “The Business Case for Magnet” at the 2010 National Magnet Conference in Phoenix. The annual Magnet conference is taking place October 13-15, 2010.
Magnet provides a gold standard for organizations and allows them to become more efficient and productive, she said. In addition to recognizing hospitals achieving nursing excellence, the program provides a method for disseminating successful nursing practices and strategies through its Forces of Magnetism.
“The principles and foundation embedded in a Magnet application are a wonderful framework for any organization to follow,” King said. “It helps to build your workforce and empowers them to achieve excellence and the professionalism that comes with who we are. It drives results. It keeps the patient and family in the center of everything we are doing and is a powerful approach to organizational excellence.”
King added that organizations cannot afford not to become a Magnet facility, because applying for it puts the hospital on a journey of professional growth and improved clinical outcomes.
The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle was the first hospital to receive Magnet-designation, in 1994, an honor it still maintains. Today, 373 hospitals out of approximately 5,815 facilities in the United States have achieved Magnet status, along with four international hospitals.
ANCC and Cerner Corp., announced at the annual conference that St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center of Paterson, N.J., received the 2010 Magnet Prize™, which recognizes innovative nursing programs and practices in ANCC Magnet-recognized organizations. The entry highlighted the facility’s Women’s Heart Center, developed by two advanced practice nurses: Carolyn Strimike, RN, MSN, CCRN, APN-C, and Margie Latrella, RN, MSN, APN-C, who provide education outreach programs in the community, comprehensive clinical assessments and preventive screenings for heart disease in women.
“We are honored to accept the Magnet Prize for our women’s heart health care program,” said Maria Brennan, MSN, RN, CPHQ, chief nursing officer for St. Joseph's Healthcare System and vice president for patient care services at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, in a written statement. “Our unique program has tremendous potential to reduce the risk for heart disease and transform the lifestyles of women to promote health in our community.”
Sandy Rader, RN, said Magnet supports a culture of leadership and excellence in nursing.
Bassett Medical Center of Cooperstown, N.Y., and Cleveland Clinic Health System of Cleveland, Ohio, received Magnet Honors recognition for their innovative nursing programs and practices.
The most recent first-time ANCC Magnet designees are Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, Ill.; John Muir Medical Center Concord Campus, Concord, Calif., Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, Mass.; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y.; and Salem Hospital, Salem, Ore.
UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh, Pa., is one of the facilities that received its first Magnet designation in 2010. Sandy Rader, RN, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at UPMC Shadyside, found the Magnet process to be a valuable experience.
“When you look at what Magnet represents and the roadmap Magnet provides, it was good direction for our organization,” Rader said.
Heidi Crooks, RN, MA, indicated hospitals that want to be the best seek out Magnet designation, which sets a standard for nursing.
Rader reported that nurses from out of state who are looking for employment gravitate to Magnet facilities. Magnet facilities enjoy lower nurse turnover rates and higher nurse retention rates, which demonstrate the business case for becoming Magnet.
Heidi Crooks, RN, MA, senior associate director of operations and patient care services at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, also reports new nurses consider Magnet designation when reviewing their employment options.
“Many professors and teachers in schools of nursing recommend it when looking for a place to work,” Crooks said. “It states that the organization has spent a lot of time making the environment conducive to professional practice.”
Crooks added that hospitals that want to be the best seek out Magnet designation, which sets a standard for nursing.
“The core elements in Magnet are so sound, and if you meet them, you have created an organization with a professional practice model in which nurses are appreciated and feel they can achieve, grow and learn, and become the best they can be.”
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