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Perceptions of Nurses in Magnet® Hospitals, Non-Magnet Hospitals, and Hospitals Pursuing Magnet Status

Hess, Robert PhD, RN, FAAN; DesRoches, Catherine DrPH; Donelan, Karen ScD; Norman, Linda DSN, RN, FAAN; Buerhaus, Peter I. PhD, RN, FAAN

Journal of Nursing Administration: July-August 2011 - Volume 41 - Issue 7/8 - p 315-323
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e31822509e2

Objective: The objective of the study was to compare perceptions of RNs employed in Magnet®, in-process (ie, hospitals seeking Magnet recognition), and non-Magnet hospitals using data from the 2010 National Survey of Registered Nurses (NSRN).

Background: The NSRN is administered biennially and measures nurses' perceptions about their profession, workplace environment, and professional relationships.

Methods: Self-administered mail survey to a national sample of 1,500 RNs was used. Bivariate statistical techniques were used to analyze responses from 518 nurses who indicated their employer's Magnet status and to examine associations between Magnet status and the nurses' perceptions of career satisfaction, the nursing shortage, work environment, opportunities to influence the workplace, and professional relationships.

Results: Nurses employed in all 3 groups (Magnet, in-process, and non-Magnet hospitals) were uniformly satisfied with being a nurse, although significantly more Magnet and in-process nurses would recommend nursing as a career than would non-Magnet RNs. Views of workplace safety were similar across groups, with no significant differences in violence, verbal abuse, discrimination, or harassment; however, Magnet nurses reported significantly more musculoskeletal injuries. Magnet and in-process nurses rated opportunities to influence decisions about workplace organization and participate in shared governance and employer-paid continuing education, and relationships with advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty higher than did non-Magnet nurses; relationships with new nurses and physicians were not different across groups.

Conclusions: The Magnet program continues to have a positive influence on nurses, their decision making, and their professional relationships. The paucity of other differences suggests that Magnet, in-process, and non-Magnet organizations are increasingly guided by a shared set of principles that define a positive professional environment derived not only by the Magnet program, but also by other professional organizations and forces.

Author Affiliations: Executive Vice President, Global Programming (Dr Hess), Gannett Education, Gannett Healthcare Group, Voorhees, New Jersey; Instructor (Dr DesRoches) and Senior Scientist in Health Policy (Dr Donelan), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Senior Associate Dean for Academics (Dr Norman), School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee; Valere Potter Professor of Nursing, Director (Dr Buerhaus), Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies, Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This study was funded by a major grant from the Johnson & Johnson national Campaign for Nursing's Future. Johnson & Johnson played no role in the design and conduct of the study, the analysis and interpretation of results, or the preparation or approval of this manuscript. Financial support for the study was also received from the Gannett Healthcare Group.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the National Health Care Workforce Commission (Dr Buerhaus).

Correspondence: Dr Hess, PO Box 412, Voorhees, NJ 08043 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.