HealthSeptember 23, 2016

Preparing for a Magnet® visit

Successful magnet designation requires a high level of coordination and communication.

What is the Magnet Recognition Program?

The Magnet Recognition Program® was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), based on research conducted by the American Academy of Nursing, to recognize healthcare organizations that provide nursing excellence. Hospitals achieve Magnet Recognition status for quality patient care and innovations in professional nursing practice.

To achieve Magnet designation, hospitals must pass a rigorous 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 rigorous on-site review process, the Commission on Magnet will review the completed report and vote to 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.

Getting started

So, you've applied for Magnet recognition and are preparing for your visit from the committee? In a recent issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA), (JONA is the Official Leadership Journal of the Magnet Recognition Program®) Bonnie Fields, PhD, RN, and Marjorie Jenkins, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, outlined some suggestions for a smooth Magnet approval process.

  • Communication is an important component of any organization’s Magnet journey. Executive leadership teams must present the case for designation as a system both to the board and nurse leaders. The chief nursing officer (CNO) is often best suited to articulate the business case for achieving Magnet status.
  • Nurse leaders should focus on patient care excellence and its value to the entire organization. Instilling a sense of pride in the message is necessary to support the energy and commitment required to move through the steps of the Magnet process.
  • Develop a steering committee with nursing representatives and support staff from across the organization. Including clinical nurses in the steering committee will ensure staff buy-in throughout the process. The steering committee will also need marketing representation to maximize communication channels and craft consistent messaging to nursing groups at system and entity levels.

Coordinating efforts

Moving forward, appoint a Magnet project director to coordinate efforts and identify structures, processes, and outcome measures that should be highlighted during the site visit.

Clinical nurses can appreciate the spirit of teamwork and nursing collaboration at a system level. As essential participants, they should be included in meetings, huddles, and departmental bulletins in preparing for site visit. Managers should be encouraged to distribute the workload of the journey across as many clinical nurses as are available.

If a system-level research initiative has been profiled in the documentation, clinical nurses from the various sites should be involved in presentation of this information to appraisers. Clinical nurses are able to serve as champions of the research process and outcomes supporting patient care excellence.

The steering committee and project director must develop creative ideas to ensure that nursing leaders and clinical nurses are familiar with the evidence of Magnet compliance submitted in the documentation.

The coordination and agenda for the Magnet appraisers’ visit require thoughtful, careful attention to details and should be ultimately the responsibility of the Magnet project director. For example, the appraisers want to get employees from across the system to come together and talk about nursing, its organization, and the ways in which nurses across the system collaborate.

When well planned, these processes not only support Magnet designation but also move the system toward better patient outcomes and supports consistency across sites.

If you're just beginning your Magnet journey, good luck! If you've already achieved Magnet recognition, please share your advice in the comments.

Attending this year’s ANCC Magnet conference in Orlando?  Don’t forget to stop by and visit Lippincott Solutions in booth 613.  Our suite of evidence-based, institutional software has been proven to improve empirical patient outcomes and we can definitely assist with your journey to achieve or maintain clinical excellence.  Hope to see you there!

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