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Nursing professionals have a steady job outlook available for the next several years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that registered nurses (RNs) have a job growth outlook of 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is a good indication that nursing jobs will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. When it comes to finding a job, nurses can focus on facilities that are known for providing the highest standards of care and nursing excellence. These hospitals have received Magnet Recognition or Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Knowing more about this program can help you understand why Magnet status is so important to nursing.

What Is Magnet Status?

Magnet status is a designation given to hospitals that have shown a commitment to providing outstanding healthcare services. These hospitals provide nurses with opportunities for continued or advanced education in order to develop or improve their skills while also gaining more knowledge about patient care. This can lead to better work environments for nurses and improved patient outcomes. Hospitals must demonstrate their dedication to providing excellent care by meeting strict requirements set by ANCC.

How did the Magnet program start? A 1983 study conducted by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals identified the main factors required for retaining the best nurses. However, only 41 out of 163 institutions at the time had these qualities. The American Nursing Association (ANA) Board of Directors approved a proposal for the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services in 1990. This paved the way for hospitals to achieve Magnet status. As of May 2021, 8.9 percent of US hospitals, or 576 hospitals, have Magnet status. This number changes as more non-Magnet hospitals earn Magnet status.

Benefits of Magnet Status for Hospitals

Hospitals that achieve Magnet status can enjoy several important benefits. Magnet hospitals are better able to attract the best nurses and retain these employees, which results in improved patient care and satisfaction as well as lower mortality rates. These hospitals typically have lower turnover among nurses and a safer environment overall. With Magnet status, hospitals have access to a road map for nursing excellence. These hospitals also report improved financial success and a strong competitive advantage in regional markets.

Why Magnet Status Is Important to Nurses

Nurses who work in Magnet hospitals have notable advantages over those working in non-Magnet hospitals. These nurses tend to experience better job satisfaction and a lower risk of burnout. Work environments for nurses in Magnet hospitals are also typically safer, allowing these employees to provide better patient care. Magnet nurses also have access to professional development opportunities, such as continued education.

Magnet Hospital Requirements

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations must meet the ANCC’s requirements in order to be part of the Magnet Recognition Program. Some of these requirements include:

  • Every nurse manager or lead nurse must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) should be employed to oversee standards and practices.
  • CNOs must be part of the decision-making process at the hospital or organization’s highest levels.
  • Every CNO must have a master’s degree or higher, preferably involving nursing.
  • All nurses must be allowed to bring up concerns about the work environment without fear of retribution.
  • Hospitals must maintain full compliance with federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and federal commissions.
  • All applicants must collect nurse-sensitive indicators to promote quality improvement initiatives.
  • Organizations should submit database information on nurse and patient satisfaction for comparison with other facilities at the national level.
  • A healthcare system must have a unifying mission, vision, and set of values that apply to all its facilities.
  • Nurses should participate in community-sponsored events.
  • Systems must apply one set of performance appraisals for all facilities.

Main Characteristics of Magnet Hospitals

Magnet hospitals have certain qualities or characteristics that set them above other healthcare institutions. Some of the main characteristics of these hospitals include:

1. Quality of Leadership

Magnet hospitals are known for having excellent leadership among nurses, which helps improve workplace conditions and patient outcomes. Major stressors, such as poor-quality leadership, lack of recognition for contributions, or poor supervision are not present in these institutions. Instead, nursing leaders in Magnet hospitals tend to have an open management style that leads to a positive and healthy work environment.

2. Personnel Policies and Programs

Magnet hospitals include staff members when developing personnel policies and programs rather than having leaders or managers handle these tasks. This has allowed nurses to have a say in creating policies and programs that improve working conditions. For example, nurses have been active in developing policies that provide them with competitive salaries, recognition programs, and more flexible work schedules.

3. Quality of Care

Magnet hospitals focus on providing superior quality of care, which benefits both nurses and hospitals. Nurses in these hospitals provide care that improves patient outcomes, while nurse leaders maintain work environments that make higher quality care possible. This results in increased job satisfaction, lower patient mortality, and higher employee retention. These hospitals take steps to improve quality of care through increased patient care time that includes patient education.

4. Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of Magnet hospitals tends to be flat rather than a strict hierarchy. This allows RNs to act as primary care managers and provide patients with higher quality care. These hospitals also focus on patient-directed care and provide a more integrated approach to healthcare. Magnet hospitals were found to have decentralized nursing departments with nursing leaders working at the executive level.

5. Resources

Nurses at Magnet hospitals have access to resources that help them provide improved care. These resources often include clinical nurse specialists, clinical nurse leaders, and other healthcare leaders that nurses can consult for guidance as needed. Having access to these resources helps improve care in difficult situations, such as when caring for high-risk patients.

How to Get a Job at a Magnet Hospital

Since Magnet hospitals have a strong commitment to providing nursing excellence and high-quality care, many look for nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or higher. Having an associate degree in nursing may not be enough to land a job at a hospital that has Magnet status. If you are working as an RN, you can look for programs that provide a pathway to earning your BSN. These programs provide you with the knowledge and training that many Magnet hospitals are looking for when hiring nurses.

If your career plans include working at a Magnet hospital, please contact American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Science at Post University for information on our accredited online nursing programs. We offer an accelerated RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to help you gain the education needed for many jobs at Magnet hospitals.


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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.