What is it With Magnet Hospital Nursing?
A person doesn’t have to be in the health care field to know there is something special about magnet hospitals. For many, the term signifies quality. What people often don’t know is that magnet status is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in recognition of nursing excellence. Yes, one of the most prestigious hospital awards is a nursing award. This is a reminder of just how important nursing is to health care!
In the 70’s and early 80’s, the nation was experiencing a shortfall of nurses. Yet some hospitals consistently did well with recruiting and retaining nurses. What made these institutions desirable? This question, and the research that followed, led to a set of standards. The first hospital granted magnet status was the University of Washington Medical Center in 1994. Now there are 386 magnet hospitals around the world. In order to achieve magnet recognition, a medical facility must document success in many areas. This means furnishing job satisfaction data as well as many indicators of successful patient outcomes.
The Benefits of Working at a Magnet Hospital
What are the benefits of working at a magnet facility? Generally, it is more about favorable working conditions than about increased salaries. Among the standards are innovative programs and nursing empowerment. It’s good to work at a institution where you‘re treated like a professional and where you feel excited by the things you see happening around you! At St. Alexius in North Dakota, for example, you find an innovative program to help people stay connected to their loved ones; there patients have their own webpage linked to off the hospital site.
But of course nurses are also lured by personal benefits. Some benefits relate directly to the job, for instance, flexible scheduling. Others make nurses’ lives smoother on and off the job. At a premier magnet hospital, you might find anything from on-site daycare to personal health and fitness resources. The right benefits can help you stay employed when you’re juggling family responsibilities or illnesses. What’s good for nurses is good for patients as well. High turnover rates cost hospitals resources as well as skills and morale. The average length of employment of registered nurse at magnet facilities is listed as 10 years; the vacancy rate is down to 2.8.
Magnet hospitals value highly educated nurses. Another benefit of working for one is that if you choose to pursue higher degrees, you will often see your tuition reimbursed. If you are working as a registered nurse with an ADN degree, you may get substantial financial assistance in completing your BSN.
Getting a Job at a Magnet Hospital
What if you’re not currently working at a magnet facility? Do you need a BSN to be considered for employment? It depends. As of 2011, magnet hospitals are required to maintain a 75% quota of nurse managers trained at the BSN level or higher. If you are working in an executive position with an ADN or diploma, and you want to make a lateral move, the BSN degree will likely be required.
There is no similar mandate for bedside nurses. However, preference is often given to candidates with BSN degrees. This is particularly true in difficult economic times, when there are more nurses seeking employment.
Currently, a little over half of direct care nurses at magnet facilities hold a BSN or higher. In large facilities with over 700 beds, the proportion is higher; here the percentage goes up to almost 60%. This makes sense as urban facilities tend to have an easier time hiring. Those facilities with 700+ beds are typically found in big cities!
Magnet children’s hospitals have a greater percentage of direct care nurses with baccalaureate education. According to the AACN, 66.8% of direct care nurses at these pediatric facilities hold at least a BSN.
Find a Magnet Hospital
Here is a link to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the organization that credentials Magnet Hospitals. You can search for Magnet Hospitals around the U.S. and the world.