What Is a Magnet Hospital, and Why Is it Important?

What is a Magnet hospital, and should you work at one? Magnet hospitals earn this status because of their commitment to excellence in nursing, nursing education, and better patient outcomes. These facilities prefer hiring nurses with a BSN, so earn a bachelor’s degree before working at a Magnet hospital.

three nurses standing outside

As you research potential nursing programs and the nursing profession, you’ll undoubtedly run across the phrase “Magnet hospital” — most likely in the context of discussions about certain healthcare facilities. So, what exactly does this mean? Is it a good thing to be a Magnet hospital? What difference does it make to a future nurse?

Read on to learn the advantages of working at a Magnet hospital. And as you’ll see, at Magnet hospitals, it’s best to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. You can do so at a program like Northeastern University’s 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

Now let’s get into all the information you’ll need about Magnet hospitals as a prospective nursing student.

What Is a Magnet Hospital?

Magnet status is simply an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), an affiliate of the American Nurses Association. In the words of the ANCC, “The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice.”

Magnet designation is intended to stand for high-quality nursing, meaning not only do the nurses deliver excellent patient outcomes, but their work environment and level of respect is such that they have a high level of job satisfaction and low turnover rate. Hospitals with Magnet status are seen as valuing nurses and involving them in key patient care decisions.

Why Work at a Magnet Hospital?

The benefits of working at an organization with Magnet status are numerous, including:

  • The ability to attract and retain talent: Magnet hospitals often have an increased RN retention rate and lower turnover rate than non-Magnet hospitals.
  • Improvements in patient care, safety, and satisfaction: Several studies examining the links between nurses’ work environments and patient safety find positive results, such as decreased patient mortality rates, falls, and injuries.
  • A collaborative culture where nurses feel empowered: The Magnet model provides a structured approach to engaging nurses in decision-making, which helps them stay energized.
  • Advanced nursing standards and practice: Non-Magnet organizations may look to Magnet organizations as a role model for nursing operations.
  • Financial and business success: Because of the positive environment for nurses, many Magnet hospitals report reduced costs in their nursing operations and a more positive reception from the industry, the press, and potential donors.

What Are the Challenges of Magnet Status?

Some critics of the Magnet designation say there is little concrete evidence that nurses at Magnet organizations feel any more satisfied or empowered than nurses elsewhere. And the Magnet designation, which is difficult to earn, only lasts for four years.

nurse standing holding clipboard

The application process for Magnet recognition requires hospitals to demonstrate excellence in patient, nurse, and organizational results. Achieving Magnet recognition typically requires the commitment of the entire organization from the executive leadership to the nursing staff.

The process requires both extensive documentation as well as site visits from trained Magnet evaluators. For complete information on the process and the benefits, visit the ANCC website at www.nursingworld.org/ancc.

Why Does Magnet Status Matter for You?

What’s the bottom line for you, the future nurse? For one thing, you may wish to make Magnet status a consideration factor in your decision about where to take your first nursing job, or even use it as a way to develop a short list of desirable employers.

As a nursing student, you might also want to see if any of the organizations with whom you’ll be doing clinical rotations have Magnet status — they can be a great place to develop nurse mentors. Probably the biggest thing to be aware of, though, is how a hospital’s Magnet status impacts its requirements for new hires.

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What Are the Requirements for Getting a Job at a Magnet Hospital?

Because hospitals must provide empirical data about outcomes as part of the Magnet recognition process, those interested in acquiring or retaining Magnet status often seek to hire nurses with a higher education — meaning a bachelor’s degree.

Nurses without a BSN can and do work at Magnet hospitals, but forward-thinking organizations interested in the long-term development, satisfaction, and performance of their nursing staff often place an emphasis on hiring BSN-educated nurses. It’s also worth noting that Magnet hospitals require their nurse leaders and managers to hold a BSN, so if you’re looking to advance your career, plan to get a BSN degree first.

The Bottom Line

Here are the three things a nursing student or future nurse should remember:

  1. Magnet recognition is a respected distinction within the nursing field, and many hospitals are willing to put in the time and effort to achieve it.
  2. In general, Magnet-designated healthcare organizations are thought to have a strong commitment to nursing excellence and to nurse empowerment.
  3. Those who enter the nursing field with a BSN, particularly from a prestigious university like Northeastern, may well have better luck landing a job at a Magnet hospital than non-BSN nurses.
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Earn a BSN at Northeastern

If you’re interested in pursuing a nursing career at a Magnet hospital, your first step is to earn a BSN, and there’s no better place to do that than Northeastern. With our 16-month ABSN program, you can leverage your prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or 62 non-nursing college credits to finish your degree faster than you could in a traditional nursing program.

Earn your BSN quickly - Northeastern ABSN student studying

Learn more about the fastest way to get a BSN through an accelerated nursing program.

The accelerated nursing program offers three start dates each year, so you don’t have to wait to begin. Our highly reputed program ensures our graduates are prepared for a successful nursing career. We offer an immersive curriculum that blends online classes with in-person lab experiences and clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities.

To learn more about the ABSN program and see if it’s a good fit for you, reach out to our admissions counselors via our online form. Now is the time to take the first step toward the nursing career of your dreams!

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