Talking Magnet with ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker

Talking Magnet with ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker

The American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet and Pathway to Excellence Conference is taking place October 12-14 in Chicago, marking the largest and most influential gathering of nurses and healthcare stakeholders in the country.

If you can’t attend, we’ve got you covered in advance as we sat down with Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Chief Nursing Officer at the American Nurses Association (ANA) Enterpriseto discuss the ANA’s role in addressing the nurse staffing crisis and how nurses can use the Magnet model to better their careers.

What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.


American Nurses Association (ANA) Chief Nursing Officer, Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN

-Earlier this year, the ANA urged Congress to address the nurse staffing crisis and the work environment issues. Can you discuss the need for a national dialogue and ongoing collaboration between nurses, Congressional leaders, and other key stakeholders to support our nursing workforce, patients, and our nation’s health and well-being?  

The nurse staffing crisis continues to demand a national dialogue with nurse-led approaches to help ease the enduring work environment challenges that nurses face across numerous specialties and healthcare settings. We support enforceable minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that reflect key factors such as patient acuity, intensity of the unit practice setting, and nurses’ competency, among other variables. And this is just one part of a larger solution to solve this. 

We continue to work on addressing other challenges that have significantly made the nurse staffing issue worse, such as burnout, workplace violence, mandatory overtime, and barriers to full practice authority. 

Nearly 400 ANA members convened at the U.S. Capitol, representing the nation’s more than 4 million registered nurses, to petition Congress to address the national nurse staffing crisis this summer. In addition to advocating, ANA is also advancing solutions from the 2022 Nurse Staffing Think Tank 2022 in partnership with other leading organizations, which produced a series of actionable strategies that healthcare organizations could implement within 12 – 18 months.

We continue to advocate on behalf of nurses and remain a collaborative partner. Our goal is to empower nurses and position them for success. We continue calling on Congress to enact meaningful legislation and policies that improve nurse staffing and work environments. 

How can nurses use the Magnet Model to better their nursing leadership and shared decision-making?

The Magnet process fosters a collaborative culture that spurs shared decision-making. Magnet organizations are even provided with a multiyear framework for quality improvement and a structured way to engage staff in decision-making. This tool can help energize and motivate teams. In fact, team building, collaborating across disciplines, regular open community, and building staff engagement, while difficult to quantify, are often what happens during the Magnet process.

-What are some questions to ask before accepting a job at a Magnet hospital? Can you offer some tips for helping nurses choose which Magnet hospital to work in?

Each Magnet-recognized organization will have its own hiring standards, so each nurse should review those as they apply for or accept a position. But they should know that whatever role they fill, a Magnet organization will invest in them and their potential. At ANCC, we’ve created a free resource for nurses looking for select practice environments and interview questions to ask. 

Magnet Recognition means education and development through every career stage, which leads to greater autonomy at the bedside. A Magnet organization supports opportunities for nurses to pursue new skills and professional development, champions them in those pursuits, and rewards them for advancing in their profession. 

We’ll be at the 2023 ANCC National Magnet Conference® October 12-14 at the at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois. Stop by booth #918. We look forward to seeing you there!

Top 5 Magnet Hospitals You’d Be Lucky to Work For

Top 5 Magnet Hospitals You’d Be Lucky to Work For

Healthcare is a dynamic field with countless opportunities for advancement and growth, with nurses poised at the forefront as hospitals attempt to meet the pressures to treat, educate and manage our aging U.S. population

Economists predict the demand for registered nurses to grow 9% through the remaining decade with 200,000 openings. If you are a nurse, seeking a hospital with Magnet designation allows you to work for the top 10% of the nation’s most respected and leading healthcare institutions with ANCC recognition.

Working for a preeminent Magnet hospital focused on benchmarks for their patients and staff, superior nursing, ongoing innovation, and leadership excellence should be at the top of any nurse’s wish list. The five facilities listed excel in patient care, research, and education, and they are selective employers that will give your resume and your career a boost.

Explore our showcase of Magnet hospitals to find an institution that meets your needs.

Here are the top five Magnet Hospitals you might consider for your next career opportunity.

1. Johns Hopkins Hospital for Education and Research

If teaching and biomedical research top your list for potential employers, look no further than Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. This Magnet-accredited hospital — one of the top 100 oldest hospitals in the United States — is a world-renowned leader in patient care. Hopkins has ten top-ranked specialties and is number one in rheumatology. With continuous innovation, research, unparalleled medical advancements, and unsurpassed patient care, Hopkins deserves your attention as a potential employer.

2. The Baylor Scoot & White Medical Center – Temple for Trauma Care

The Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple Trauma Center in Temple, Texas, the only designated Level I Trauma Center between Dallas and Austin, ranks among the best for overall trauma care, dating back to the fall of 2019. The hospital received its first Magnet designation on February 4, 2021. According to the American College of Surgeons, this medical campus ranks among North America’s top 10% of Level 1 trauma centers.

3. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for Pediatric Care

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the United States for the last two decades. The main campus is renowned for delivering safe, high-quality, and family-centered care serving pediatric patients with complex conditions worldwide. This Magnet hospital is the nation’s first hospital devoted to the care of children. Since 1855, CHOP has fostered countless medical innovations to improve pediatric healthcare worldwide.

4. Cleveland Clinic for Cardiac Care

Cleveland Clinic ranks as one of the world’s best healthcare delivery systems. The main campus has been recognized as a Magnet® organization since 2003. And for three decades, Cleveland Clinic has ranked as the top hospital for cardiology, and heart surgery in the U.S. Cleveland Clinic is a top destination with a pedigree of high-quality patient outcomes, maximum safety, and continuous innovation.

5. Mt. Sinai Hospital for Foreign Travel

If you love to travel, leverage your mobility to explore Mt. Sinai Hospital, Canada’s renowned acute care academic health science center affiliated with the University of Toronto. Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health, is Canada’s first and only hospital to receive Magnet recognition for nursing excellence and patient care, with a worldwide reputation for excellence in genetic research.

Today, healthcare is more complex than ever. Opportunities for nurses are abundant. Whether you choose a Magnet hospital offering ideal working conditions, increased job satisfaction, leadership opportunities not found elsewhere, or a top hospital of your choice, do research before committing.

We’ll be at the 2022 ANCC National Magnet Conference® October 13-15 at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Stop by booth 2018. We look forward to seeing you there!

Magnetizing High-quality Nursing Care

Magnetizing High-quality Nursing Care

The Magnet designation for hospitals emerged in 1990 under the auspices of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a strategy for catalyzing and recognizing the highest possible standards for quality nursing care.

Since its inception, Magnet has given ambitious hospitals something concrete to strive for. Magnet has also allowed nurses to identify facilities that deliver optimal patient care while creating positive workplace cultures for nurses who care about their work and what their employers stand for.

Walking the Talk

As of this writing, fewer than 600 hospitals hold Magnet status, and since there are over 6,000 hospitals in the U.S., we can see that Magnet status remains the exception, not the rule.

Magnet standards make sense when we consider what makes a hospital stand out. We can understand why some nurses are drawn to seeking employment at facilities prioritizing achieving and maintaining Magnet status.

From another perspective, while Magnet designation is an impressive achievement, we can be sure there are plenty of excellent non-Magnet hospitals where nurses lead satisfying and robust careers while delivering outstanding care. However, there are Magnet-designated hospitals where things may not be as perfect as they might like us to believe, and much work remains to be done for those institutions to walk their talk.

As boots-on-the-ground professionals, nurses know the inner workings of healthcare employers and facilities. While a certificate from a certifying body is all well and good, nurses want to see the evidence in their day-to-day environment. What aspects of Magnet do nurses want to see and experience? A few might include:

  • Shared governance
  • Quality improvement initiatives
  • Advancement of nursing practice
  • An emphasis on evidence-based practice
  • Transformational leadership
  • Career advancement and a leadership track

No matter where they work, nurses want to feel respected, acknowledged, and rewarded for their dedication. They want a workplace free of incivility and to be treated as more than just cannon fodder on the front lines of the battle against disease.

Hospital organizations that walk their talk hold nurses in the highest esteem. Seasoned nurses are recognized for their expertise and institutional memory, and new nurses are embraced as the representatives of the future that they truly are. Everyone’s place should be valued, and nurses should feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, but where individual gifts hold meaning.

Like Attracts Like

When we consider the nature of a magnet, we think of how a magnet attracts objects with similar properties. In contrast, those unlike the magnet are repelled or completely unattracted by the magnet’s force.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the brainstorming sessions that occurred in the late 1980s when the ideas that led to Magnet status were still gestating. The concept of magnetism may have yet to emerge immediately during those conversations. Nevertheless, many ideas may have been floated in those early days, and who knows how the process eventually resulted in magnetism bubbling to the surface.

These days, we’re accustomed to the notion of a Magnet hospital. Acute care facilities want their nurses to be the best, and savvy patients aware of the Magnet designation may seek care at facilities holding such status.

Focus on Quality Nursing Care

If approximately 10 percent of American hospitals are Magnet-designated, what are the remaining 90 percent focused on, and what do their nurses experience? Do they feel that something is missing? Perhaps. Are there non-Magnet community hospitals without the resources to dedicate to pursuing Magnet status that still shines like healthcare stars? Without a doubt. Are there facilities where satisfied patients receive optimized, high-quality care from incredible nurses devoted to doing their best every day? Absolutely!

We all know that certification is no panacea — institutions are bureaucracies made up of people, and human beings (and many bureaucracies) are inherently flawed. Still, doing one’s utmost to achieve a worthwhile goal can give meaning to our work, and a collective dedication to Magnet certification can empower everyone.

If you work at a Magnet facility, consider whether it meets your expectations. And if you work at a non-Magnet hospital, how does your hospital show up on the positive side of the quality equation? Hopefully, your employer sees you for who you are, values your contributions, recognizes your gifts and pays you well for your dedicated service.

You can be a human magnet for positivity, excellent nursing practice, high-quality patient care, and a happy, satisfying career. And if the Magnet process is part of making your career successful, all the better.

Minority Nurse is thrilled to welcome Keith Carlson, “Nurse Keith,” a well-known nurse career coach and podcaster of The Nurse Keith Show as a guest columnist. Check back every other Thursday for Keith’s column. 

We’ll be at the 2022 ANCC National Magnet Conference® October 13-15 at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Stop by booth 2018. We look forward to seeing you there!

Magnet Status Matters: What Magnet Recognition Means for Hospitals and the Nurses Working There

Magnet Status Matters: What Magnet Recognition Means for Hospitals and the Nurses Working There

Hospital administrators across the nation advocate the merits of Magnet designation. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, awards Magnet status to hospitals that satisfy designated criteria that measure the strength and quality of the institution’s nursing care.

What Are Magnet Hospitals?

Magnet-designated hospitals are regarded as the pinnacle of nursing practice, leadership, and innovation. A Magnet designation stands on five pillars: transformational leadership, structural empowerment, professional practice, innovation, and empirical outcomes.

More than ever, hospitals seek to attract the best nurses, physicians, and ancillary medical staff. Magnet hospitals appear to fare better with these recruiting metrics, but do the benefits outweigh the costs? The return on investment requires measurable patient care metrics, a superior nursing environment involved in hospital decision-making, and higher net patient revenue than non-Magnet hospitals. With consumers looking to hospitals for quality, hospitals seek to raise the bar with a Magnet designation as a roadmap for excellence.

Finding a Hospital with Magnet Status

With nurses becoming more valuable amid the growing shortage, nurses can leverage their demand by exploring open nursing jobs and finding a Magnet hospital that meets their needs. How do you apply to a Magnet hospital? As with any hospital, search the institution’s website and locate the nursing employment link. Use our Magnet Showcase to review Magnet-designated hospitals to research your next employment opportunity.

Safety Across the Board

Hospitals are constantly striving to improve patient safety. However, a safer work environment extends beyond patient safety through lower nurse-to-patient ratios. A Magnet appointment is an investment into a safer physical work environment for the nurses. Reduced physical injuries and decreased blood and body fluid exposure rates translate into healthier nurses and reduced costs.

Improved Outcomes

When nurses have an elevated level of job satisfaction, patient outcomes improve. Low staff nurse turnover, a path to grievance resolution, decentralized decision-making, participation in data collection, and involvement in patient care delivery encourage and reward nurses through advancement in nursing practice. A Magnet designation validates the hospital’s mission.

Reducing Burnout

The COVID-19 pandemic left the nursing landscape littered with shortages and premature departures. Nurses seek engagement and empowerment; competition is fierce for high-quality, professional nurses. As health care grows, patients are becoming more complex. Shift work is demanding, with long pressure-filled hours. If you include the mental, physical, and emotional factors that fuel attrition in nursing, obtaining a Magnet designation can lead an institution toward an increase in the quality of the work environment.

Professional Improvement

Within health care, quality improvement is a sustained culture of practice improvement. The professional development of nurses is a tenet of Magnet: having employers support nursing autonomy and empowerment can lead to cooperation in leadership and vision. To succeed in health care, interdisciplinary communication and a collaborative mission of nursing practice can result in better partnerships with hospital leadership.

The Costs

Obtaining Magnet status can be expensive for smaller institutions. It takes over four years to complete the process, with an average of over two million dollars invested by the hospital. Proponents will argue that Magnet designation will offset the associated cost with higher net patient revenue and improved outcomes. A Magnet-designated hospital receives an adjusted net increase in inpatient income of $104.22–$127.05 per discharge. This translates into an added $1,229,770–$1,263,926 in income per year. Hospitals achieve payback from Magnet Status in two to three years using this data.

Critics argue little evidence exists that Magnet hospitals’ nurses are better off compared to their non-award-bearing competition. More than an impression of nursing excellence is needed to justify the added time and cost for what some professionals consider a marketing gimmick. For nurses weighing the claimed benefits of a supportive work environment, autonomy, less risk of burnout, opportunities for education and research, and the real-world practice environment of a Magnet hospital is imperative. So, nurses, do your research.

We’ll be at the 2022 ANCC National Magnet Conference® October 13-15 at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Stop by booth 2018. We look forward to seeing you there!