Hospitals Seeking Magnet Status

Published 20 Dec 2016

Magnet Status is an award or recognition given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), which is an associate of the American Nursing Association, if the hospital fulfills certain criteria or achieves certain levels of standard in the quality and quantity of nursing care provided (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2003). It is one of the highest recognitions awards a hospital could achieve for quality in nursing care in any part of the World. This system is utilized both in the US and the UK. More than 6, 000 hospitals in the US have magnet status (Hawthorne, 2007).

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Each hospital that achieves magnet status is given a ranking or classification based on the extent of quality of nursing care provided. Such hospitals deliver very good nursing care and the nurses are very much satisfied with their jobs. The nurse turnover rate is low and the disputes are handled more appropriately (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2003). The turnover rate of the nurses in magnet hospitals was 9 % whereas in non magnet hospitals the turnover rate was more than 18% (Threlkeld, 2007). The ANCC was founded in the year 1991, and provides a lot of certifications to quality nursing. The Magnet Status is a part of the Magnet Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing, which was actually framed by researchers who worked in the 1980’s to develop an accreditation system for quality in nursing (Lifespan, 2006).

Kramer and Schmalenberg worked on a research project through which hospitals could provide quality nursing care to the patients. Over the years, magnet status has really built a lot of improvement in the hospitals.Certain strategies were developed to attain these goals (Threlkeld, 2007). Magnet status also gives a lot of importance to information collected, nursing education, evidence-based practice, advancing nursing care, leadership issues, working environment, professional autonomy, career development and decisions made by the nurses relating to patient care (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2003).

A program should be created by the hospital for the nurses to ensure that they are constantly supported professional. A magnet hospital thoroughly evaluates and reviews the level of nursing care. The standards achieved by the magnet hospitals are one of the highest which can be achieved in the industry. The ANCC has developed up to 65 criteria which the hospitals have to meet in order to achieve magnet status.The hospital has to fill an application for initiating magnet status. The hospital seeking magnet status should be able to provide written documentation that they fulfill the criteria, and also when the members of the accreditation organization visit the hospital, this should be confirmed (Lifespan, 2006). Not only are the nurses and the various processes should be in place, but also the nurses and the processes in nursing management must be proven to be effective. This may be very difficult to achieve, and hence hospitals that are able to achieve a magnet status have a high status (Hawthorne, 2007).

Hospitals having magnet status ensure that the patient satisfaction rate, the outcome of several conditions and the nurse to patient ratio is higher than those hospitals which do not have magnet status (Lifespan, 2006). Once the hospital achieves magnet status, it must be able to maintain the quality achieved for a certain period of time, and probable improve it. Magnet status does not only mean provision of quality nursing. The entire hospital staff has to either directly or indirectly work along with the nursing staff in providing patient care and improving satisfaction rates. The magnet criteria require that an efficient system of communication exists between the nurses and the other members of the healthcare team including physicians and surgeons (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2003).

There are a lot of benefits of having the magnet status, including:

  • It gives a lot of importance to nurses in relation to the organization (Nursing World, 2007)
  • During nursing recruitment and retention of the nurses by the hospital, magnet status plays a very important role (Nursing World, 2007)
  • Hospitals that have opted for magnet status have a competitive advantage over the rivals – About 93 % of the people have more confidence in a magnet hospital. About 85 % of the people would have more confidence in a long-term facility with magnet status (Nursing World, 2007)
  • It suggests the overall quality of the hospital and not only of the nursing faculty (Nursing World, 2007)
  • The programs that are in place in the hospital are automatically validated through the magnet status (Nursing World, 2007)
  • Magnet status automatically brings about positive working relationships between the nursing staff and the hospital (Nursing World, 2007)
  • A magnet culture is created through a magnet status, in which a positive attitude is enabled for the working nurses. Several values such as professional integrity, teamwork, empowerment, respect,decision-making, etc are enabled (Nursing World, 2007)
  • Once a hospital has magnet status, automatically the other staff members that would be joining such as physicians and specialists would be high-quality (Nursing World, 2007)
  • It improves the communication, interaction and the teamwork between the nursing professionals and the other professionals (Nursing World, 2007)
  • The health packages of the healthcare organization appeal better when the magnet status is achieved (Nursing World, 2007)
  • Magnet status improves the relationships between the nurses and the patients, and also enables a positive outcome and patient satisfaction levels (Lifespan, 2006)
  • When a family member requires emergency care help, automatically a hospital having magnet status is selected as the people have more trust and confidence in such a hospital (North East Medical Centre, 2007)
  • It has been observed that hospitals having magnet status usually pay less liability for medical negligence compared to those without magnet status (Threlkeld, 2007)

There is a lot of criticism to the Magnet program initiated by the ANCC. Many nursing associations including the California Nurses Association and the Massachusetts Nurses Association consider it to be more of a commercial aspect and try to promote the hospitals that are able to fulfill certain norms of the ANCC. Practical evidence suggests that nurses working in magnet hospitals are not better off than those in the non-magnet hospitals. Several nursing professional have questioned the magnet system. Suzanne Gordon feels that although the magnet system has brought in a certain amount of changes in the nursing care, it may not always be efficient.

The guidelines required to be fulfilled may in fact do not represent true nurse empowerment. Several of the healthcare organizations that have magnet status are not following some of the vital regulations laid down in the magnet criteria. Many nursing professionals consider that the magnet system is not actually promoting the nursing professional, but feel that the system could be strengthened in the future. They feel that instead of having such a system that may be very difficult to fulfill, nurses could work in a more efficient and systematic manner to improve the level of patient care. Many nurses do not like the alterations that are operable in the hospital once it has been awarded with the magnet status.

Many hospitals are gentle on their nursing staff during the process of accreditation. However, once it receives accreditation, it would immediately bring about unreasonable working rules conditions that are difficult to work in. Many of the nursing staff are even fired or are forced to leave their jobs. Some nurses felt that once the magnet status was given, hospitals immediately began to remove the nurses from the decision-making process for the patient. Many nurses do not consider the magnet criteria as a monitoring tool, but rather as a promotion tool (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2003). A hospital with magnet status may concentrate only on one profession and may ignore the rest (Threlkeld, 2007). Instead, those hospitals without magnet status that tend to concentrate only all the professionals and specializations may be ignored by the public (Threlkeld, 2007).


  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (2007). Benefits of Becoming a Magnet-Designated Facility. Retrieved April 28, 2007
  • Lifespan (2006). A Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence. Retrieved April 28, 2007
  • Northeast Medical Center (2007). What is a Magnet Hospital? Retrieved April 28, 2007
  • The Center for Nursing Advocacy (2003). What is Magnet status and how’s that whole thing going? Retrieved April 28, 2007, from Nursing Web site:
  • Threlkeld, K. (2007). Pros and Cons of Magnet Hospitals. Retrieved April 28, 2007, University of Buffalo Web site:
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