Does Abbott-Northwestern Stand to Lose its Magnet Status?

Allina Strike

By Mathew Keller RN, JD

Mathew Keller, RN JD Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist
Mathew Keller, RN JD
Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist

Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist
“Magnet” status, a prestigious accreditation awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (an arm of the American Nurses Association), is desired and sought after by hospitals across the country.  Only 6 percent of hospitals ever achieve it, however.  Magnet hospitals demonstrate excellence in patient care and nursing services and are expected to attain and retain top talent, improve care, ensure safety, develop nurse satisfaction, foster a collaborative culture, advance nursing standards and practice, and grow business and financial success.

At Magnet hospitals there is low nurse turnover and appropriate grievance resolution. Put simply, Magnet is a benchmark for nursing excellence. Patients who go to magnet hospitals can expect better patient outcomes and better nursing care, and nurses who work at magnet hospitals are supposed to be able to expect a better and more collaborative working environment. These characteristics result in improved financial success for Magnet hospitals as patients seek out the care Magnet hospitals deliver.

Of the above attributes of magnet facilities, many Abbott Northwestern nurses feel that Abbott (one of 441 magnet hospitals in the nation and one of 3 in the state) has a recent track record of success in only one area of Magnet performance: growing its business and maintaining financial success.

This begs the question: can Abbott lose its Magnet designation? In a word, yes.

Magnet hospitals must reapply for magnet designation every four years. Since Abbott was re-recognized as a Magnet hospital in 2014, it must reapply in 2018. Part of its reapplication will be showing performance improvement on measure TL1 (nurse practice environment), which includes “nurse satisfaction, nurse turnover rates, productivity, and nurse-assessed quality of care.” Judging by Abbott’s recent treatment of its nurses, one would expect to see nurse satisfaction at a historic low and nurse turnover at an unsustainable high.

There is precedence for hospitals losing their magnet status.  Nationally, only 86 percent of hospitals pass re-certification every four years, and UC-Davis is well known for losing its status due to poor nurse staffing levels.

Abbott-Northwestern nurses are among the best in the area. They know that when they put their scrubs on every morning, they are going to deliver the best care possible.  Unfortunately, magnet status implies a culture where nurse’s voices are heard and addressed, where hospital administrators work in collaboration with staff nurses to bring about excellent patient outcomes and the best possible patient care, work environment, and job satisfaction. If Allina wants to keep its Magnet status, the company must pay more than lip service to the principles of Magnet status and actually put the principles into action.


  1. When I worked at a magnet hospital, I was especially proud of where I worked and bragged about it constantly. I still do. It would be disappointing if this were to occur. I think hospitals are moving towards a more focused financial outcome and less patient centered care. Patient satisfaction is becoming the priority without enough focus on retaining skilled, competent, and more importantly experienced nurses. I see so many new nurses in critical care setting- right out of school who just don’t know how to fully care for complex critical care patients. We need to be working towards retaining nurses so our patients get the best care possible. Patient satisfaction is a priority, but providing competent care is also.

  2. United Hospital had magnet status n 2009. In light of the negotiations in 2010 we all turned in our Allina that we did not want to be associated with the way they do business., We won the contract in 2010 and they have never again achieved magnet status or has even brought it up. Way to go allina and ride on our coats.

  3. All allina magnet facilities are going to lose this status. Nurses at the 5 hospitals that are in supposed negotiation, will never rate any of them as a place of job satisfaction, quality patient care, or anything else. They are liars, to their staff, but worse than that, to the public. They lie and pretend they care about patients and their families. The bottom line is people, they only want your money. They are ONLY all for profit.
    Personally, I can’t wait to see them lose it. As they say, Karma is a BITC !

  4. Whose job is important at Allina? Why is there no support for its nurses by Allina who work so hard each day. Are we to be discarded? Abbott Northwestern has put a lot of effort into our excellence, What has happened. As a nurse for Abbott Northwestern for almost 10 years I have been happy in my job but now I am dismayed that my job has so little credibiltyand respect among Allina’s management. This is very sad and Allina deserves to loose its Magnet Status.

  5. Unfortunately, as long as the “political climate” is what it is, the standard for patient care, the concern of employee satisfaction and the desire to remain a “magnet hospital” will never be as important as the “corporate dollar.” Until this climate changes in our country and the corporation is put in its’ place as a business with certain constraints regarding their ability to make a “reasonable” profit and not have the same constitutional rights as if they were an actual person this will not change. Hopefully, the next election will produce leadership which desires to put the term “humanity” into its’ correct perspective. Until then, there will be no concern for nurses, or any other employees who work for a huge money hungry corporation. Sadly, the bottom line includes a disdain for excellent patient care standards vs. those standards which only preclude “just getting by.” Sad and I hope that November will change this, vote for humanity please.

    Joanna Zietlow-Hogan, BSN-RN,BC

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