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Comparison of Patient Outcomes in Magnet® and Non-Magnet Hospitals

Goode, Colleen J. PhD, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC; Blegen, Mary A. PhD, RN, FAAN; Park, Shin Hye PhD, RN; Vaughn, Thomas PhD; Spetz, Joanne PhD

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2011 - Volume 41 - Issue 12 - p 517–523
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182378b7c

Objective: This study compared patient outcomes and staffing in Magnet® and non-Magnet hospitals.

Background: The pursuit of Magnet designation is a highly regarded program for improving staff and patient outcomes. Research has confirmed that Magnet hospitals provide positive work environments for nurses. Research related to patient outcomes in Magnet hospitals is scarce, and results vary.

Methods: The University Health Systems Consortium provided the clinical and operational databases for the study. Using bivariate and multivariate analyses, a comparison of patient outcomes and nurse staffing in general units and ICUs of Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals was studied.

Outcomes: Non-Magnet hospitals had better patient outcomes than Magnet hospitals. Magnet hospitals had slightly better outcomes for pressure ulcers, but infections, postoperative sepsis, and postoperative metabolic derangement outcomes were worse in Magnet hospitals. Magnet hospitals also had lower staffing numbers.

Conclusions: Magnet hospitals in this study had less total staff and a lower RN skill mix compared with non-Magnet hospitals, which contributed to the outcomes.

Author Affiliations: Professor, College of Nursing, Division Informatics, Health Systems and Leadership, University of Colorado, Aurora (Dr Goode); Professor, School of Nursing, Department of Community Health Systems, University of California San Francisco (Drs Blegen and Spetz); Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Nursing, University of Kansas, Lawrence (Dr Park); Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Department of Health Management, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Dr Vaughn).

Funding: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Goode, College of Nursing, University of Colorado, 13120 East 19th Ave, C288-19, Aurora, CO 80045 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.