When Nicole Johnson, RN, BSN, CCRN, decided to start a career in nursing four years ago, she knew she wanted to work at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
A major attraction for Johnson, a staff nurse in the med/surg/transplant ICU, was UW Medical Centers accomplishments as a Magnet-designated facility. UW Medical Center recently was recognized as the first hospital in the U.S. to achieve the American Nurses Credentialing Centers highly coveted Magnet designation five consecutive times. It also was one of the first facilities in the nation to achieve Magnet status when the ANCC began its Magnet program in 1994. The Magnet Recognition Program distinguishes hospitals for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.
“What [Magnet] means to me is that they value my nursing practice and my opinions and they value empowering nurses to challenge their practice and create change,” Johnson said.
Johnson was one of several UW Medical Center nurses who attended the ANCCs National Magnet Conference in October in Los Angeles, where the facility was honored for its Magnet success, which included achieving Magnet designation for the fifth time in November 2011.Cindy Sayre, RN
“It validates that we have the structures and processes that support professional nursing practice,” said Cindy Sayre, RN, MN, ARNP, director of professional practice and patient and family-centered care at UW Medical Center. “We are helping our nurses be the best they can be for the good of our patients.”
As a result of maintaining Magnet status year after year, the center has created an environment in which nurses voices are heard and work to achieve a high standard of care, said Sayre, who also serves as director of the hospitals Magnet program. To prove their commitment to nursing education, the facility was able to show the ANCC it was on a path to increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses, Sayre said. The hospital recently implemented $1 per hour raises for nurses with a bachelors degree or higher, she said.
Because being Magnet designated means fostering a climate of research, the center has a clinical nurse researcher who serves as a resource for staff interested in nursing research and presenting their materials at conferences, Sayre said. Research from a nurse on the liver and kidney transplant unit led to the creation of an intensity index — a rating system in which nurses give a number to patients representing how much nursing care they require, which ensures work is distributed evenly among nurses, Sayre said.Kathleen Errico, RN
The center also recently changed the model of care in the ICUs and incorporated NPs into that model, said Kathleen Errico, RN, PhD, ARNP, chief NP. In the future, the center is looking at benchmarking patient and staff satisfaction, Errico said. Though still in developmental stages, the center also is examining creating an advanced practice provider council to bring NPs, physician assistants and certified registered nurse anesthetists together to promote cooperation and collaboration.
“Magnet is without question the standard to which all major hospitals hold themselves accountable,” Errico said. “It demonstrates the quality of nursing achievement and the quality of nursing practice across the institution.”
Sayre said maintaining Magnet status comes with new challenges each year, such as a focus on empirical outcomes. But UW Medical Center nurses believe they are up to the task of continuing Magnet designation in the future.