Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Do Magnet hospitals provide better care than other facilities?

Want to improve your patient care and enhance transparency? If so, then there’s one thing your facility needs to do — get Magnet accreditation.

79077182After all, Magnet recognition is considered a leading source for measuring nursing excellence.

Why focus on nursing and not physicians?

Reason: 95% of direct patient care in hospitals is provided by nursing staff.

And a recent study from New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, which was published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, shows that the overall quality of care can be optimized when nurses work in a positive environment with adequate resources and support from their organization at all levels.

Add to that the fact Magnet hospitals show higher job satisfaction and lower odds of patient mortality than non-Magnet hospitals, and you know why hospitals should focus on their nurses. They’re also the single largest segment of the healthcare workforce.

Unfortunately, only 9% of U.S. hospitals are recognized as Magnet.

Research provides insight

Little research existed that looked into the causes of the differences between Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals, until now. 

Now the study, “Understanding the Role of the Professional Practice Environment on Quality of Care in Magnet and Non-Magnet Hospitals,” provides insight on the factors contributing to the differences between Magnet and Non-Magnet hospitals, as well as an analysis of the links between Magnet recognition and better nurse-reported quality of care.

The study focused on cross-sectional data, including the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual survey, and an analysis of 56 Magnet and 495 non-Magnet hospitals. After balancing variables in order to remove the maximum bias, the researchers found a clear positive correlation between positive nurses’ work environments and nurse-reported quality of care. Even after taking into consideration hospital characteristic differences between Magnet and Non-Magnet hospitals, Magnet hospitals were still positively correlated with higher reports of excellent quality of care, noted a press release from NYUCN.

One reason for this is because Magnet nurses use evidence-based care — care that’s been proven successful. And Magnet hospitals offer superior practice environments.

A second study by Linda Aiken, PhD, director of Penn’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, and colleagues, showed that hospitals employing more nurses with bachelor’s degrees had lower surgical-patient mortality rates than hospitals with fewer bachelor’s-prepared nurses. This study demonstrated that while nursing experience is an important factor in patient outcomes, it’s not as critical as educational preparation.

“Because all organizations, Magnet and otherwise, have the potential to enrich their practice environment, every organization stands to benefit from improving the organization of nursing care,” said Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, PhD, RN, assistant professor at NYUCN. “Having visible and accessible chief nurses, encouraging and including nurses in decision making in their unit and throughout the organization, supporting nursing practice and engaging in interdisciplinary patient care, are but a few examples of readily modifiable features of a hospital.”

Dr. Witkoski Stimpfel is continuing to research the outcomes associated with Magnet hospitals. Her current project is focusing on assessing the relationship between Magnet recognition and patient satisfaction in a national sample of hospitals.









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