Why Patients Should Be Attracted To Magnet Hospitals

Susan Howell, MSN, EdD, RN, NEA-BC
Director of Professional Practice
St. Joseph’s/Candler

Smart Living: In 1994, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) established the Magnet Recognition Program for hospitals. This year, the ANCC awarded St. Joseph’s/Candler their fourth consecutive Magnet designation. What does it mean to be a Magnet hospital?

Susan Howell: Magnet is the highest recognition that can be awarded for nursing excellence.  Patients who enter a Magnet hospital can be assured that they are receiving care from nurses who have shown, through a rigorous appraisal process, to be exemplary in their professional practice.

SL: Can you give us a glimpse into the appraisal process?

SH: A health system must meet eligibility requirements before it can even apply. Then we submit written documentation of our best practice and are evaluated on how well we meet the program’s standards including outcomes benchmarked against other Magnet facilities. The appraisal team visits our hospital to assure that what we’ve submitted is truly what is being practiced, and they meet and speak with leadership but most importantly with the front line nurses who are providing the care. No stone is left unturned, and there must be consensus among the group in the scoring so that the process remains thoroughly objective.

SL: This is the fourth consecutive Magnet designation for St. Joseph’s/Candler. Why is that significant?

SH: It puts us in a very elite group. At this time, there are only 423 Magnet hospitals in the world to begin with, and there are only 30 that have received four designations.  That means less than 1 percent of hospitals in the world have achieved this.  Plus, the rigor for reaching this designation has increased over the years, yet we have always met the higher standards.

SL: What does it mean to the nurses to be part of a Magnet hospital?

SH: Our Magnet designation is part of a rich history of high-quality nursing here, and the nurses take pride in that and always work hard to live up to that tradition. Our practice is technologically-advanced and evidence-based, and we are always looking at new policies and procedures, or reviewing what is in place, to make sure it remains state-of-the-art. The effect of the Magnet award is reflected in its name—it attracts and retains the best nurses.

Along with the mission and values of St. Joseph’s/Candler, our nurses follow the tenets of Florence Nightingale, supporting the needs of the patient and family in all dimensions: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Our practice has brought us Magnet recognition, but more importantly it has made a difference for patients, not only in terms of their outcomes but also in their experience. We get cards and letters every day from people who tell us they felt a positive difference here.