How to Achieve Magnet Hospital Status

A hospital is awarded Magnet status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) when it demonstrates a high standard of excellence. 

Hospitals with this accreditation are considered to be the gold standard of nursing care. Only about 8% of US hospitals have achieved Magnet status, which equates to 475 hospitals around the country.

For patients, the Magnet designation means they’ll receive the highest level of care from nursing staff. For hospitals, the status means they’ve achieved and will continue to achieve a positive culture through the highest medical standards. For health care professionals working in these facilities, they can expect a future-thinking environment that’s focused on empowering and helping them further their careers.

If you’re a hospital administrator looking to achieve Magnet status, a nurse looking to do their part, here are some steps you can take to reach that goal.

What Does It Mean to Be a Magnet Hospital?

In 1983, a task force from the American Academy of Nursing launched a study that determined the attributes of hospitals and organizations that had consistent and highly qualified nursing staff. 

Seven years later, using the 1983 study as their guideline, the ANCC approved the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services in order to determine which hospitals gave their patients exemplary nursing care. 

The first hospital to gain Magnet status was the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Since then, they’ve been identifying nursing excellence that leads to better patient outcomes throughout America.

To achieve this prestigious status, there are five areas in which a hospital must show a high standard of excellence in. These five model components make up the ANCC’s Magnet Model:

Transformational Leadership

The Magnet Model looks for leaders who not only guide people where they want to go, but more important where they need to be in order to meet the demands of their hospital, patients, and future. 

A hospital’s leadership must create a vision for their team’s future through listening, changing, and influencing the organization. Magnet organizations strive for stability in leadership because they understand that a strong and stable leadership empowers staff and not only looks to solve the problems within their own system but in the health care system at large.

Structural Empowerment

A Magnet hospital knows that its most valuable employees aren’t at the top. These organizations value everyone’s voice and recognize the contributions of the entirety of the nursing staff. 

These facilities also have a clear employee structure in place that allows for input from all community members. These structures have innovative systems, policies, and programs in place that makes staff feel empowered and heard.

Exemplary Professional Practice

The Magnet Recognition Program is intended to find organizations that have exemplary nursing practices within their systems that’s then applied to their patients and their patients’ families. 

Hospitals that show accountability, competence, and compassion within their care and practices are those that stand out.

New Knowledge, Innovations, And Improvements

Magnet hospitals cannot stay stagnant once they’ve achieved Magnet status. The ANCC looks for hospitals that have a desire to improve patient care through new knowledge and innovations. These organizations have an ethical and professional responsibility to constantly examine their system and redefine their role in the healthcare world.

Empirical Outcomes

Magnet asks its organizations “what difference have you made?” in terms of their patients. Above everything else, the quality of care has to be excellent, regardless of the final outcome.

Why Aim for Magnet Status?

The honor of being recognized as a Magnet hospital attracts both patients looking for top-quality care and the most qualified health care workers looking for an excellent work environment. Here are just some of the reasons that facilities and nurses should aim for Magnet status:

It Eases Patient Concerns.

When your patients see that your hospital has been granted Magnet status, their minds will be put at ease knowing they’re about to be in excellent hands. 

The Magnet brand is strong outside of the medical community, and patients will not only feel better going there, but they’re also much more likely to specifically seek care from a Magnet facility.

It Provides A Safer Experience For Nurses And Patients.

Magnet-recognized hospitals have to uphold a certain standard of quality care in their facilities, not just for patients but for their staff as well. 

Much like patients looking for quality care, the Magnet brand attracts top tier professionals to come work for you, because they know they’ll be safe and well cared for.

It Increases Revenue.

The publicity and reputation of your Magnet facility will directly correlate to an increase in revenue for your hospital. 

On average, Magnet hospitals see an increase in revenue per year from $1,229,770 to $1,263,926. While it may cost more to achieve that status, the commitment will recoup your investment and make you a profitable hospital for years to come.

Achieving Magnet Hospital Status

If you’re looking to get your hospital to the next level and achieve Magnet status, below are the step-by-step ways to reach that goal.

Perform a Self-Assessment

Analyze your staff, facility, procedures, and overall system and compare it all to top-ranked facilities with Magnet recognition. Highlight areas in which there is room for improvement, then create an achievable action plan and budget to get your hospital there.

The ANCC offers a free self-assessment tool that you can use for this step. 

Check Your Eligibility

Before you get too involved, make sure your organization is eligible to be considered for the Magnet Recognition Program. There are certain federal laws involving nurses that your facility must comply with in order to be considered.

Submit Your Magnet Application

Once you feel as though your hospital is ready to be evaluated, you can submit an application online through the ANCC website. The application requires supporting documents, the facility’s organizational chart, the nursing staff’s organizational chart, eligibility documentation for the nursing staff, and a corresponding fee.

Arrange a Visit

After your paperwork has been submitted, your facility must complete a site visit with the ANCC appraisal team. The representatives will evaluate your facility to ensure that all the information on your submitted documents is correct and meets their standards. They’ll then submit the report to the program’s commission who will make the final decision.

Follow Interim Monitoring Guidelines

Once you achieve Magnet recognition status you will hold that status for four years. However, once you’re granted that designation, you must continue to follow program guidelines and complete interim monitoring requirements from the ANCC.

Apply for Redesignation

After the four-year period, you must reapply for redesignation. This process typically begins three years after the initial designation and requires information and data that reflect your hospital’s continued and improved standards.

It’s a lot of hard work to be worthy of Magnet status, but being recognized as a Magnet hospital not only has tangible benefits — like increased revenue, higher patient satisfaction, and higher educated staff — but it’s a milestone to remind you that you’ve done your best for your organization, your patients, and your staff.