HealthSeptember 27, 2016

History of the magnet recognition program

ANCC's  Magnet designation is the "gold standard" of nursing excellence.

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.

ANCC claims that Magnet hospitals have higher percentages of satisfied nurses, lower RN turnover and vacancy, higher patient satisfaction, and improved clinical outcomes.

To achieve Magnet designation, hospitals must go through a careful and lengthy process beginning with an application, followed by written documentation demonstrating 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. 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

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. The program was based on a 1983 study by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) which identified characteristics of healthcare organizations that excelled in recruitment and retention of registered nurses.

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

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

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

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

The program is based on the characteristics of Magnet facilities originally described in the 1983 AAN study. The characteristics are known as the “Forces of Magnetism.” These forces are grouped into five components that represent 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, consists of the force Quality Improvement.

5. Empirical Quality Results includes the Force Quality of Care.

Benefits of Magnet Designation

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

  1. Promotes quality in a setting that supports professional practice.
  2. Helps facilities identify excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients and/or residents.
  3. Serves as a means to disseminate best practices in nursing services.

ANCC touts among the benefits of Magnet designation for hospitals:

  • being able to attract and retain top talent
  • improving patient care, safety, and satisfaction
  • fostering a collaborative culture
  • advancing nursing standards and practice
  • growing the facility's business and financial success.

Organizations that achieve Magnet designation gain the advantage of using one of the official logos in their marketing and promotion. 

Headed to Orlando for this year’s ANCC Magnet Conference?  Stop by booth 613 and learn how Lippincott Solutions can support your journey to clinical excellence by improving patient outcomes.  Watch a brief demo of our best-in-class, evidence-based institutional decision support software and receive a FREE caricature drawing.  Hope to see you there!

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