Why Ongoing Education is Vital to Magnet Accreditation

Why Ongoing Education is Vital to Magnet Accreditation

The gold standard for nursing throughout the U.S. and around the globe, Magnet accreditation is a prestigious designation conferred by the American Nurses Credentialing Center on healthcare organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing. Approved in 1990, the Magnet Recognition Program was based on a 1983 research study on how top U.S. healthcare providers were able to successfully attract and retain skilled nurses throughout the nursing shortages of the earlier decades. As of September 2013, there are approximately 7 Magnet accredited hospitals for every 100 registered hospitals in the U.S.

As the ultimate benchmark for quality of care, Magnet accreditation offers healthcare organizations benefits ranging from the recruitment and retention of top talent to financial growth and success. Magnet accredited hospitals enjoy lower turnover and vacancy rates, superior nurse-to-patient ratios, higher nurse and patient satisfaction, and better clinical outcomes. Magnet recognition is further linked to a general improvement in work environments, the influx of highly-qualified MDs and allied health professionals, stronger HMO care contracts, and an increase in market shares.

These benefits are closely tied to the program’s 5 Model Components—a model grounded in core nursing principles and the framework by which healthcare organizations are evaluated. These components are: Transformational Leadership, Structural Empowerment, Exemplary Professional Practice, New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements, and Empirical Outcomes. The 5 Model Components further encompass what ANCC calls the 14 Forces of Magnetism—characteristics that embody excellence in nursing and serve as bases for the appraisal process.

The requirements for Magnet accreditation consist of an online application, an application fee, and the following documents: organizational chart, nationally benchmarked nurse satisfaction survey tool, CNO Vitae, and nurse manager and nurse leader educational eligibility criteria table. Upon receipt of the requirements, it falls on the Commission on Magnet Recognition to evaluate the application and schedule a visit to the facility before coming to a decision. Hospitals and long-term care facilities that have earned Magnet status must submit updated documents and undergo the Magnet re-designation process every four years.

Because nurse and nurse administrator education is a basic criterion for eligibility, ongoing education is a valuable investment for any healthcare facility seeking to earn Magnet designation. Taking proactive steps toward Magnet designation therefore means committing to furthering education and career development among hospital staff.

Promoting online Master of Health Science programs to their nursing staff is one way healthcare organizations can advance towards reaching Magnet status. Actively seeking resources and tools for leadership and professional growth via ongoing education serves to benefit not only the individual staff member, but the team as a whole. The Saint Francis University online Master of Health Science curriculum exemplifies a program designed for professionals seeking to advance their roles as nurses and administrators in the healthcare setting.

By fostering a Magnet-friendly work culture and enabling their staff to flourish as professionals, hospitals and long-term care facilities can begin to reap some of the benefits of Magnet recognition even before accreditation.

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