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Credentialing Requirements for Magnet Status Hospitals

Higher Education Articles July 2, 2013

A Magnet status hospital is supposed to be a place where nursing there are low turnover of the nursing staff, good grievance resolution, nurses have high job satisfaction, and provides exemplary patient outcome. Nurses at Magnet hospitals should also have a say in patient care and be involved in data collection.

Since Magnet status is focused on nursing and nurses, it stands to reason that the credential comes from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Center concentrates on excellence in nursing for the benefit of both patients and nurses. According to the ANCC, their Magnet credentialing process has proved to be so effective that it counts heavily in hospital scores from publications such as the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and US News & World Report.

Here are the major Magnet status hospital requirements set by the ANCC:

•The hospital must pay an application fee. This fee starts at $13,750 for a 100-bed facility.
•Hospitals must collect quality data as it applies to nursing. That data must then be compared against that of other hospitals for benchmarking purposes. Hospitals must also submit the relevant data to a national database for further comparison. Data must also be used to identify problem areas and methods for bringing about improvement.
•There must be a way for nurses to confidentially express concerns about hospital practices. The method should also encourage them to do so.
•The hospital must have the requirements of the Nursing Administration: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA 2010) fully implemented.
•Nurse leaders, whose rank is between manager and chief nursing officer (CNO), must have at least bachelor’s degrees in nursing as of 2013.
•Nurse managers must also be registered nurses. This person will have 24/7 accountability for the registered nurses at the hospital. He or she will also handle performance reviews, recruiting, and other typical managerial duties related to the nursing department. Starting in 2013, all nurse managers must have a nursing degree at the bachelor’s level or higher. Until then, only seventy-five percent of the nurse management staff needs degrees.
•The CNO must be a participant of the hospital’s governing body as well as the body responsible for strategic planning.
•The CNO must have at least a master’s degree. If this degree is not in nursing, the officer must have either a bachelor’s or a doctorate that is in nursing.
•There must be a single Chief Nursing Officer. This officer must be responsible for maintaining the standards of the hospital’s nursing program.
•The hospital must have at least one nursing setting.

When hospitals fully implement all of the requirements for Magnet status, working conditions and outcomes are said to improve. Full implementation, however, does not always occur in reality. The Truth About Nursing notes that some hospitals use Magnet status mainly as a promotional tool and only partially implement Magnet-related improvements. They warn that some nurses find that Magnet hospitals have working conditions that are not substantially different than their non-Magnet counterparts. Therefore, job-seeking nurses should be sure to check multiple sources before assuming that a particular hospital will be a superior employer.

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