Editor-in-Chief; Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Officer, Meridian Health System, Neptune, N.J.
The bar for excellence has risen! This year, the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition Program® has condensed the 14 Forces of Magnetism into five components: transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, new knowledge and innovation, and empirical outcomes. The Forces of Magnetism are now embedded into the new components, which are more focused on outcomes that make a positive difference in the culture and environment of an organization.
Although the sources of evidence have decreased from over 150 to a mere 86, don't be fooled that Magnet® recognition is an easier process. In fact, the standards now require organizations to close the loop by moving from process orientation to tracking and trending outcome performance. Organizations are now required to describe the difference they've made in the delivery of care rather than simply describing what has been done.
This shift to outcome performance is timely, as the Magnet Recognition Program is now closing in on completing its second decade of existence. There are currently over 350 organizations that have received Magnet recognition and many more engaged in the application process. The original Magnet standards primarily focused on setting the agenda for excellence and they've presently matured to the expectation of delivering excellence. Will these new standards jeopardize the chances for hospitals and healthcare organizations to attain Magnet recognition? Will some organizations that have achieved Magnet recognition be in jeopardy of losing this prestigious status?
Magnet recognized organizations and those that aspire to Magnet recognition will be judged not only on the structure and processes created but also on the associated outcomes. Nurse executives will need to develop an infrastructure of highly educated and skilled managers and staff who demonstrate leadership principles in assessment, planning, and resource allocation. Consistent leadership and attention to detail are paramount to success. Leaders must be highly educated in organizational theory and apply skills that will drive positive outcomes. Failure to set goals and develop teams to achieve them will result in poor outcomes and may thwart the achievement of Magnet recognition.
The community has developed an expectation that Magnet recognized hospitals attract and retain the best and most highly qualified nurses who deliver exceptional care to patients in an environment that breeds excellence. These new standards insist that nurse leaders evaluate their organization to ensure its culture is one that supports the creation and implementation of new knowledge and innovative practice. This will require leaders to carefully evaluate the nursing organizations' strategic plan and implement objectives to meet these goals.
The Commission on Magnet Recognition, composed of nurse leaders and community members, has demonstrated a proactive approach by implementing these new standards and raising the bar for performance. In light of national scrutiny regarding the approach and cost in which healthcare is provided, Magnet recognized organizations should be the leaders in documented positive outcomes by creating new and unique evidence-based protocols and procedures that are proven to be efficient and efficacious. Leaders and staff in Magnet recognized organizations should be the Mecca for discipline in performance and implementation of results. Magnet recognition should be reserved for those organizations that surpass expectations and inspire others to achieve positive results.