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What being a Magnet
hospital means
Learn about the continuing journey of the nation's first Magnet hospital
By John Roszkowski
EDITOR'S NOTE: John Roszkowski was the content manager for healthcare recruitment at OnCourse Learning.
The University of Washington in Seattle was the first hospital in the U.S. to achieve Magnet® recognition – and its journey continues today.
Q: The University of Washington Medical Center was the first hospital in the U.S. to achieve Magnet status in 1994. What has being the first Magnet hospital meant to the facility?
A: Being the first hospital to achieve Magnet status is a great source of pride for UWMC. Since we received the designation 23 years ago, the principles and concepts that comprise the Magnet model (Transformational Leadership, Structural Empowerment, Exemplary Professional Practice, New Knowledge and Innovations, and Empirical Outcomes) permeate the nursing culture. It’s not just something we strive for, it is who we are as UWMC nurses.
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Q: What do you think are the major benefits Magnet designation has brought to the hospital over the 23 years since you first received the designation?
A: Our Magnet status allows us to attract and retain the best nurses. We hire nurses from around the country, and they often will say that they chose UWMC because of our Magnet status. In our work to maintain the Magnet designation, we have designed structures and processes that create a strong and supportive nursing practice environment. This has allowed us to retain an exceptionally talented and committed group of nurses. In addition, Magnet’s focus on empirical outcomes has spurred us to focus on quality, safety and service. We are currently outperforming national benchmarks in nursing quality sensitive indicators as well as patient satisfaction.
The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle was the first hospital to earn the prestigious Magnet Recognition Program® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 1994. The hospital has achieved Magnet status a record six times.
In this Q&A with Nurse.com, Cindy Sayre, PhD, RN, and CNO for UWMC, discusses what Magnet recognition has meant to the hospital and nursing staff over the years, and how it has impacted nurse satisfaction and patient care.
Q: Do you think going through the Magnet process has improved the quality of the nursing staff over the years?
A: Going through the Magnet process improves the quality of the nursing staff. One example is Magnet’s focus on outcomes. When nurses start to design projects, they are continually considering how to identify and measure patient outcomes. This has added rigor to the process-improvement work we are engaged in. In addition, Magnet’s focus on shared governance ensures that workflows and processes are designed by the nurses who are closest to the work. Having nurses engaged in finding solutions leads to enhanced professionalism. Overall, our quality outcomes have improved over the years, which is a result of improved nursing care.
Q: Do you have any measures on how the Magnet process has impacted the quality of patient care?
A: Patient outcomes have improved as we have continued our focus on quality. Specifically, our rates of pressure injuries, falls with injury, central-line bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections are now lower than the national average. Our patient satisfaction scores related to RN communication are in the 85th to 90th percentile.
Q: How has the application process for Magnet changed over the years?
Q: For new facilities considering applying for Magnet designation, what do you see as the benefits to them? What challenges will they face along the way?
A: For new facilities, Magnet provides a framework to build a strong and successful nursing culture. It will bring great pride to the organization and will shine a spotlight on nursing practice for the organization. There are many challenges in the application process. It is a test you can’t study for, so the organization has to have structures, processes and outcomes in place before beginning the application process. It is very time-intensive to identify examples that meet the many standards, as well as gather evidence and write about each example. There may have to be additional resources added to the leadership team to be able to complete the application process.
Q: You received Magnet recognition for a record sixth time in 2016. What did that mean to the hospital and to the nurses who work there? What was the reaction of the nursing staff?

Cindy Sayre, PhD, RN, is chief nursing officer at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
A: It was a special and humbling moment for all nurses at UWMC. It was validation of the excellent work that happens here every day, and it was the culmination of two years of intensive work as we prepared the application. Our nurses understand that Magnet isn’t an end in itself, but rather a reflection of the ongoing excellence of our nursing team. The entire hospital celebrated with us, as Magnet designation is a source of pride across the medical center.
A: Applications for the Magnet designation were focused on processes for many years. For example, as long as organizations could demonstrate processes, such as committees, workgroups or projects, they could receive Magnet designation, even if their quality measures were below national benchmarks. Now the focus is on the outcomes, and organizations must demonstrate [to the ANCC] outperformance of national benchmarks in quality measures. There also has been inclusion of ambulatory practice settings and community outreach in the current accreditation process.
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RNs are at the helm
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