A Magnet Recognition Program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Consumers rely on Magnet designation as the ultimate credential for high quality nursing (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2008). Magnet status is becoming the “gold standard” for nursing excellence and as more hospitals seek the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s desired Magnet recognition, more hospitals are requiring their nurses to either return to school for their bachelor’s degrees or have a BSN before applying.

The Institute of Medicine, Future of Nursing Initiative recommended that organizations should strive to achieve 80% BSN prepared nurses by 2020. Educational criteria for nurse leaders and managers require at least a BSN (Institute of Medicine, 2010). Magnet hospitals are an inspiration for nurses looking for a quality institution in which to practice. This status translates into a hospital that values nurses and promotes excellence. Nurses play a significant role in the whole hospital experience for patients and their families.

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They are the primary source of care and support during some of the most vulnerable times in a person’s life. Studies show Magnet hospitals have higher percentages of satisfied registered nurses, lower turnover and vacancy, improved clinical outcomes, greater nurse autonomy, and improved patient satisfaction (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2008). When nurses are happier and more engaged, patients and families are happier. At Magnet hospitals, nurses are able to spend more one-on-one time with their patients providing compassionate care than at most other hospitals.

This doesn’t mean that nurses at other hospitals provide poor care, this is not the case at all, but the nurse-to-patient ratios at a Magnet Hospital is more manageable. This allows the nurse to have more time with each patient, instead of running around trying to take care of an excessive amount of patients, it is unrealistic for a nurse to have one-on-one time with so many patients, when she has to do assessments, pass medication, and everything else that comes up during a shift. Hospitals that achieve Magnet recognition, display it proudly and there is good reason for this.

Magnet status does not come easily, it’s a lengthy and costly process. Hospitals must work hard, prove a deep commitment to nursing, and often undergo major organizational change to meet the strict requirements (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2008). Since Magnet hospitals are designated for four years, Magnet recognition must be maintain. This is an ongoing process in which the organization will repeatedly review and revise its programs. One of the Forces of Magnetism that provides the conceptual framework for the Magnet appraisal process is Quality Improvement.

Nurses play a key role in Quality Improvement as they are essential to hospitalized patient care, they spend the most time at the patient’s bedside and are in the best position to affect the care patients receive during a hospital stay. Hospitals face increasing demands to participate in a wide range of quality improvement activities, and they are reliant on nurses to help address these demands (Draper, 2008). Quality Improvement information pressures hospitals not only to participate by reporting, but also to perform well relative to competitors and show improvement.

This is often one of the incentives behind hospitals seeking Magnet Program status (Draper, 2008). Another Force of Magnetism is Professional Development. The health care organization values and supports the personal and professional growth and development of staff (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2008). Yale-New Haven Hospital is continually developing and enforcing quality and safety measures aimed at preventing and minimizing errors at all levels of the organization. One of the Quality Initiatives is minimizing infections. This is done by maintaining good hand hygiene.

Good hand hygiene is an important and effective way to prevent germs being spread in the hospital. Yale-New Haven Hospital, makes sure that sinks, soaps and alcohol-based sanitizers are readily available throughout the hospital for patients, staff and visitors. An audit for hand hygiene performance is done and the information obtained is used to make improvements. Another way to minimize infection is by maintaining isolation precautions in place when necessary, this is to protect patients, staff and visitors. Everyone must follow any precautions listed on the sign outside the patient’s room.

Yale-New Haven Hospital has a quality assurance team that continually monitors and measures performance across the entire Yale New Haven Health system. They evaluate and survey patients and staff at all levels to create hospital “scorecards. ” They also rely on reporting from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and The Joint Commission. Performance reports and scores are circulated to leadership, physicians, nurses, administrators, and other key staff members so they can monitor progress and make informed decisions on where and how improvements should be made.

The benefit of this is that when problems are identified, they investigate the causes and adjust practices to prevent the problem from happening again. This helps to maintain a culture of safety and continuous improvement (Yale New Haven Hospital, 2014). After writing this paper, I’ve realized that continuing my education and getting my Baccalaureate degree in nursing, whether mandated or not, will open many doors in my future career as a nurse.

Achieving higher educational goals not only serves patients more effectively, it also prepares nurses to be leaders in their profession and to participate not only in direct patient care, but also in policy and governance as a career unfolds. References American Nurses Credentialing Center “Magnet Recognition Program. ” American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2008 available at http://www. nursecredentialing. org/Magnet/ accessed Apr 15, 2014. Draper, DA. , Felland, LE. , Liebhaber, A. and Melichar, L. (2008, March).

The Role of Nurses in Hospital Quality Improvement, available at http://www. hschange. org/CONTENT/972/ accessed April 25, 2014. The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education – Institute of Medicine. (2010, October). Retrieved from http://www. iom. edu/Reports/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health/Report-Brief-Education. aspx/ accessed April 15, 2014 Yale-New Haven Hospital How & Why We Measure Performance. Retrieved from http://www. ynhh. org/patient-information/minimizing_infections. aspx accessed Web. 15 Apr. 2014.