African-American female nurse in an OSF HealthCare magnet hospital

How are Magnet-designated hospitals different?

Magnet designation is a prestigious credential given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, to hospitals that demonstrate nursing excellence and quality patient care.

Three OSF HealthCare hospitals have achieved this designation – OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford and OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, which recently received this designation for the fourth time.

“It’s recognizing that we are a quality organization. It’s pro-nurse, and it’s pro-patient,” said Sheryl Emmerling, Magnet program director at OSF Saint Francis.

“We are always looking at our nursing structure, the care we provide and ways to improve patient outcomes. Because we can demonstrate that we are doing this as an organization, we are able to get credentialed and then re-credentialed by ANCC.”

Only about 8 percent of hospitals receive this designation. Hospitals must first apply and submit extensive data showing the quality of their organization. Then a team of surveyors visits the hospital and interviews patients, nurses and leadership before filing a report with the Commission on Magnet Recognition, the group who oversees the Magnet Recognition Program.

“They want to verify that we’re not just talking the talk, we are walking the walk,” Sheryl said.

Which hospitals receive Magnet designation?

The commission reviews 74 metrics, including nurse and patient satisfaction scores. The metrics fall into these four components.

  • Transformational leadership. Does this organization’s leadership team have a vision for the future? Are they able to motivate employees to achieve superior results?At OSF HealthCare, our Vision is to “transform health care to improve the lives of those we serve.” Our nurses play a crucial role in identifying and implementing changes that improve the care we provide.
  • Structural empowerment. Are there processes in place to put an organization’s Mission, Vision and Values into practice? Are there strong partnerships with the community and other professions? Are there opportunities for professional development, life-long learning and career advancement?With two colleges of nursing, opportunities for continuing education and tuition assistance for nurses seeking advanced degrees, OSF HealthCare gives nurses the tools they need to be their best. Nurses are also involved in decision making at every level of OSF HealthCare. From bedside nurses who are the frontlines of communication and patient care to chief nursing officers who serve on executive boards and everywhere in between, nurses have a voice and drive change within OSF HealthCare.
  • Exemplary professional practice. Is this organization providing effective and efficient care? Is it achieving high quality outcomes?When a hospital applies for Magnet designation, they submit two years of data, such as patient satisfaction scores and rates of infection, that show the work nurses are doing to make their care stand out.
  • New knowledge, innovation and improvements. Are systems and practices being redesigned to provide better care in the future?At OSF HealthCare, we are always looking for new and better ways to care for our patients through innovation and research. Our nurses also work to ensure the care we provide is based on evidence.

What does a Magnet designation mean for patients?

Research shows that Magnet hospitals have higher retention rates and more satisfied nurses than non-Magnet hospitals.

Studies also show that hospitals who achieve Magnet status provide not just an excellent work environment for nurses but excellent scores in patient safety, including higher patient satisfaction, lower mortality rates and fewer falls.

“You want a nurse who is professional, who values their profession and who’s going to continue to educate themselves to give the best care for patients,” Sheryl said. “Nurses care about preventing your infection, getting you up and moving and returning you to where you came from better than how you came to us.”

When you receive care at a Magnet-designated facility, you can be assured you’re receiving high quality nursing care.

About Author: Laura Nightengale

Laura Nightengale is a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and worked as a reporter at a daily newspaper for five years before joining OSF HealthCare. 

When she’s not working, Laura loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family, including her sweet and ornery dog.

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