HealthSeptember 13, 2022

History of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program

ANCC's Magnet® designation recognizes nursing excellence in healthcare organizations committed to the highest quality of nurse and patient care.

The ANCC Magnet® designation is the "gold standard" of nursing excellence. As of June 2022, 9.4% of US hospitals, or a total 591 hospitals, have achieved Magnet status. This number changes as more non-Magnet hospitals earn Magnet status. Magnet hospitals attract nurses and impact patient outcomes by investing in the ongoing nursing education and career development needed to provide safe, high-quality patient care.

Distinctions in care quality and nursing practice

Hospitals that achieve Magnet status are considered the best of the best. The Magnet Recognition Program® is a designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) that recognizes nursing excellence. Hospitals achieve Magnet Recognition status for quality patient care and innovations in professional nursing practice. It is considered the highest recognition for a hospital nursing department.

The ANCC states Magnet hospitals have higher percentages of satisfied nurses, lower nurse burnout and turnover, higher patient satisfaction, and improved clinical outcomes.

To achieve Magnet designation, hospitals must go through a careful and lengthy process that begins with an application, followed by written documentation to demonstrate qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding patient care and outcomes. If scores from the written documentation fall within a range of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly assess the organization. After this on-site review, the Commission on Magnet will review the completed report and determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.

Consumers rely on Magnet designation as the ultimate credential for high-quality nursing and patient care. Achieving Magnet status is the highest honor awarded by the ANCC and is universally recognized as the “gold standard” of nursing excellence.

A brief history of Magnet

In December 1990, the American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors approved the creation of the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services. Based on a 1983 study by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), the program identified characteristics of healthcare organizations that excelled in the recruitment and retention of registered nurses.

The ANCC initiated a pilot program involving five hospitals in Seattle in 1994. Three years later, ANCC awarded the first Magnet recognition to the University of Washington Medical Center. In 1997, ANCC changed the program's official name to the Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program.

The following year, the ANCC expanded the program to include recognition of long-term care facilities.

By 2000, ANCC had received numerous requests to expand the program outside the U.S. The ANCC Board then expanded the program to recognize healthcare organizations abroad.

In 2002, ANCC once again changed the program's official name to its current name, Magnet Recognition Program.

Since 2008, the program has evolved and now includes 14 Forces of Magnetism grouped into five components representing the framework that distinguishes Magnet organizations.

  1. Transformational Leadership includes the forces Quality of Nursing Leadership and Management Style.
  2. Structural Empowerment includes the forces Organizational Structure, Personnel Policies and Programs, Community and the Healthcare Organization, Image of Nursing, and Professional Development.
  3. Exemplary Professional Practice includes the forces Professional Models of Care, Consultation and Resources, Autonomy, Nurses as Teachers, and Interdisciplinary Relationships.
  4. New Knowledge, Innovation, & Improvements consist of the force Quality Improvement.
  5. Empirical Quality Results include the Force Quality of Care.

Benefits of Magnet designation

There are many benefits of Magnet designation that positively impact patients, nurses, and the facility. Participation in The Magnet Recognition Program advances three principle goals within health care organizations, as follows:

  1. Promotes nurse role development and retention in a setting that supports professional practice.
  2. Helps facilities identify nursing excellence in care delivery to patients and/or residents.
  3. Serves as a means to disseminate best practices in nursing services.

The ANCC asserts hospitals that achieve Magnet designation are better able to:

  • Attract and retain top nursing talent
  • Improve patient care, safety, and satisfaction
  • Foster a collaborative culture
  • Advance nursing standards and evidence-based practice
  • Grow the facility's business and financial success

Healthcare organizations that achieve Magnet designation gain the advantage of using the official Magnet Nursing Recognition logos in their marketing and promotion.

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