Magnet can be a lifesaver
Read first-hand account of how Magnet hospitals save lives.
RNs gain support
The Magnet culture dictates fitting education into nurses' routine.
Understand Magnet nursing
Interim director discusses past and future of the Magnet program.
The Magnet difference
Experts discuss some of the unique characteristics of Magnet hospitals.
Seeking Magnet: Pros and cons
A look at some of the benefits and costs of pursuing Magnet status.
Improve patient care
Research suggests Magnet status can improve patient outcomes.
Nurses battle Hurricane Harvey
Nurses at Magnet hospitals in Houston stepped up during crisis.
Find your Magnet hospital
A breakdown by state of all the Magnet hospitals in the U.S.
Magnet recognition - Image of globe
Magnet has global appeal
Hospitals in other countries are seeking Magnet recognition.
Frontline nurses take the lead
Nurses are taking on leadership roles as Magnet Champions.
RNs are at the helm
Transformational leadership plays big role in Magnet process.
Free CE: Novice to expert
Build your expertise by adding to your skills and experience.
Achieve accreditation
Key steps hospitals can take to help them in the Magnet process.
Lifelong learning in nursing
Magnet program places a strong emphasis on continuing education.
Continuing education catalog
A look at courses that can help nurses on the Magnet journey.
continuing education catalog
It takes a special leader
Find out how transformational leadership leads to satisfaction.
APRNs and Magnet nursing
Magnet status can elevate nurse educational standards.
Achieve nursing excellence
Read stories of recent Magnet Nurses of the Year winners.
What being Magnet means
Learn about the continuing journey of the nation's first Magnet hospital.
When you get the Magnet call
Read testimonial from CNO of one of the newest Magnet hospitals.
Magnet improves patient care
Magnet hospitals found to result in better outcomes for patients
Robin Farmer
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Patients treated at Magnet® hospitals – known for nursing excellence – achieve better outcomes than those with similar health issues at non-Magnet hospitals, research shows.
Research suggests those improved patient outcomes include lower mortality rates and fewer surgery complications, according to Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, Independence Chair for Nursing Education and a professor at the
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
“From a consumer’s perspective, the message is the same. If I choose a Magnet hospital over a non-Magnet, I am likely to get better care and have better outcomes.”
— Matthew D. McHugh, RN
Measured difference
Research led by McHugh in 2013 found that improved nurse preparedness at Magnet facilities accounted for much of the difference in patient outcomes, but there were other factors that weren't fully explained by measured characteristics of nursing.
“What that suggests is although the measured difference in nursing accounts for the majority of the benefit, there is still something else that differentiates Magnet from a non-Magnet [hospital] that we haven’t been able to measure,” said McHugh, associate director of Penn’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. “We can only guess at what that might be.
“From a consumer’s perspective, the message is the same,” he added. “If I choose a Magnet hospital over a non-Magnet, I am likely to get better care and have better outcomes.”
Established in 1994, Magnet status is awarded by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center, an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, to hospitals that satisfy criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of their nursing. Magnet recognition is a factor in the U.S. News and World Report hospital rankings. Magnet hospitals, which have higher proportions of nurses with bachelor’s degrees and specialty certification, demonstrate transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, development of new knowledge, innovation and improvement and empirical outcomes. All of those factors positively impact the quality of patient care, Magnet officials say.
“Although Magnet status is a recognition of nursing excellence, it really is the entire organization that achieves Magnet status,” said Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s CNO Carol Conroy, DNP, RN, CENP. “Nurses do not work in a vacuum.
“They need the help of our physician colleagues, pharmacists, physical therapists, housekeepers – all of the things that touch a patient as they come through a health system,” she said. “All those departments need to be committed. It’s not their job to take care of the patient; it is their job to support the nurses who do. That’s the philosophy here and that’s how we have been so successful.”
SVMC has maintained its Magnet status since 2002. One measureable success at the hospital involves its transitional care nursing program, which is designed to reduce readmissions. Clinical nurse specialists work with patients who are high risk and high cost with chronic illnesses to ensure their discharge plans are realistic and manageable.
The goal is to bridge the gap between communication, care coordination and medication to navigate patients from the hospital to a home-care setting, according to Conroy.
Decreased hospital visits
To address the challenge at SVMC of people regularly using the ED, nurses coordinated a community care team that interacts with patients who frequently visit the ED to connect them with other services in the community. Studies show patients fare better at Magnet hospitals. A 2016 study led by University of Pennsylvania professor Jeffrey Silber, PhD, MD, found patients at Magnet hospitals had a better 30-day mortality rate and better surgical outcomes with similar costs, said Karen B. Lasater, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research.
“[Magnet] really doesn’t have to be a more expensive option for hospitals,” Lasater said. “These things have payback through better patient outcomes. The other main finding of that paper is the Magnet hospitals admitted fewer patients to ICUs, which can be an incredibly expensive resource intensive place to be hospitalized. They are also getting patients out of the hospitals sooner so shorter lengths of stay are associated with lower cost to the hospital.”
For patients deciding where to seek medical treatment, Lasater said research favors Magnet hospitals. “We know that when bedside nurses in hospitals are well resourced and able to perform clinical care and collaborate effectively with other clinicians, that these things have impact down the road for patients,” she said. “Magnet is the symbol or signal for these types of things that hospitals can do to improve patient care.”
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Robin Farmer is a freelance writer.
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