The magnet designation, determined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recognizes high-quality patient care, high levels of nurse education, and nursing innovation.
"Even controlling for differences in nursing, hospital, and patient characteristics, surgical patients fared better in magnet hospitals," said lead author Doctor Matthew D. McHugh. "The better outcomes can be attributed in large part to investments in highly qualified and highly educated nurses, and practice environments supportive of high-quality nursing care."
Starting in 1994 with Penn Nursing research, studies on magnet hospitals have shown they yield lower rates of patient death. Ongoing research points to magnet hospitals' having "higher levels of nurse satisfaction, less nurse burnout, lower patient fall rates, and lower mortality among very low birthweight infants," wrote Doctor McHugh and Penn Nursing co-authors. "Magnet hospitals have reputations for being good places for nurses to work. Our findings reinforce that better work environments for nurses are the distinguishing factor between magnet and non-magnet hospitals and are the key to better patient outcomes."
The number of magnet-recognized hospitals in the United States is at about 400, about 8 percent of hospitals nationally. This study took place in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey - four of the nation's largest states accounting for more than 20 percent of hospitalizations annually. Nearly 100,000 registered nurses took part in this study.
"The magnet recognition program is not the only means of improving the work environment, but it may provide a replicable blueprint for doing so, to the benefit of nurses and patients," said McHugh. "Hospitals that have earned magnet status have seen improvement in patient outcomes, suggesting that the process of applying for and retaining magnet recognition, and the networking opportunities that come with magnet recognition, may promote continuing quality improvement and organizational innovation."
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing