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The Role of Magnet Hospitals in Professional Development for Nurses

Magnet is the “gold standard” in quality patient care and nursing excellence. “To nurses, Magnet Recognition means education and development through every career stage, which leads to greater autonomy at the bedside. To patients, it means the very best care, delivered by nurses who are supported to be the very best that they can be,” states the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

If you want to excel in providing excellent patient care and work for an organization that supports professional development, then consider employment at a Magnet hospital.

What Is a Magnet hospital?

The term “Magnet hospital” is an official designation awarded by the ANCC that signifies a high standard of excellence in professional nursing practice. The goal of Magnet designation is to encourage hospitals to recruit and retain high-quality nurses, which translates into an improvement in the quality of patient care. While some prestigious centers — like Baylor Scott & White Health, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Emory University Hospital, Cleveland Clinic and Loyola University Medical Center — are Magnet certified, less than 10% of hospitals nationally have this recognition.

How Does a Magnet Culture Promote Nursing Professionalism?

Magnet status means an organization creates a “magnet culture” to encourage nurses in decision-making, education, leadership, teamwork and professionalism. There are five core components of excellence to achieve a Magnet hospital status:

  1. Transformational leadership. Leaders empower nurses with the tools, resources and confidence to make decisions and improve the field. They ensure that everyone on the team understands the importance of their work toward a common goal. If a process intersects with nursing or patient care, nurses have representation.
  2. Structural empowerment. Nursing input matters in the daily practice of a Magnet organization. Many use a shared governance system to give nurses autonomy and authority to make decisions. For example, nurses may sit on various councils. In addition, the organization encourages input on patient care decisions through interdisciplinary rounds, policy and procedures and exploration of best practices.
  3. Exemplary professional practice. Magnet hospitals support nursing autonomy and professional growth. Nursing leadership opportunities are available at all levels. Workplace education showcases the latest science and professional skills. Nurses are encouraged to obtain certifications, submit abstracts and present at conferences.
  4. New knowledge, innovations and improvements. Organizations strive to constantly improve patient care and empower staff. Nurses learn models for problem-solving, such as PDSA, and how to use those tools. They challenge the “status quo” by exploring evidence-based practice standards and proposing quality improvement projects or nursing research.
  5. Empirical quality results. Magnet facilities use outcome measurements to provide the organization’s “report card.” Often, they set the standards for patient care with high clinical and nursing practice outcomes with an environment that recognizes and rewards excellence and growth.

What Makes a Magnet Hospital Different?

Overall, when comparing Magnet hospitals versus non-Magnet hospitals, a Magnet hospital has better patient outcomes. They demonstrate a lower rates of nursing shortage, burnout, job dissatisfaction and turnover. In addition, they provide a supportive work environment for professional growth. The main benefits of Magnet hospitals are as follows:

Magnet hospitals have better patient statistics. Research shows that Magnet hospitals provide high-quality patient care, evidenced by their patient outcomes and higher patient satisfaction rates. Overall, from a consumer standpoint, if patients choose care at a Magnet hospital over a non-Magnet hospital, they are likely to get better care and have better outcomes.

Magnet hospitals are usually great places to work. They consistently report higher employee satisfaction with low staff turnover rates and fewer vacancies compared to other facilities. Typically, they have less agency or travel nursing staff, lower nurse-patient ratios, better work environments and higher nursing satisfaction rates. While Magnet status recognizes nursing practice excellence, an entire organization benefits from it.

Magnet hospitals encourage collaboration. Some of the most transformational leaders, researchers, scientists and clinicians work at Magnet facilities. Nurses who work with these professionals will lead nurses in the future.

Magnet hospitals encourage the nursing profession. They support both workplace and community involvement outside a nursing organizational. In addition, they encourage ongoing learning, professional development, further education and career development, often compensating nurses accordingly.

If you want to grow professionally and work with some of the most innovative, transformational nursing leaders, consider working at a Magnet hospital. While a may not be required to work at a Magnet hospital, applications from bachelor-prepared nurses will stand out among the other candidates with a combination of experience and education.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington online RN to BSN program.

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