By Mathew Keller RN, JD
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.