Our Community Is Among the Lucky Few To Have a ‘Magnet’ Hospital
By Michelle Little, BS, RN, CMSRN, and Jessica Malloy, RN-BC, ONC
This post by two members of our nursing team was published October 18, 2020, as a Reader’s View in The Saratogian.
Saratoga Hospital recently attained ANCC Magnet Recognition® for nursing excellence—the highest national honor for professional nursing practice. It was the fourth consecutive time our community’s hospital earned this distinction.
Only 541 U.S. hospitals, or 8.8%, have been designated Magnet facilities by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Less than 2% have earned Magnet recognition four or more times.
Our nurses and the entire Saratoga Hospital team are proud to be part of this select group. But what matters even more is what Magnet means to our patients and our community: improved safety and quality, better patient outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.
Driving these benefits is a culture that emphasizes excellence and values and empowers nurses. Magnet hospitals encourage nurses to pursue advanced degrees and certifications and to share new knowledge with their colleagues. Saratoga Hospital leads the way in supporting nursing education, and that has a powerful, positive impact on the care we provide.
Our hospital offers tuition assistance and scholarships and, yes, other organizations also do that. But how many of them, like Saratoga Hospital, bring college classes on-site to make it easy for nurses to earn higher degrees? And how many encourage nurses to use their education to do the job they love most? If we want to advance in the organization, Saratoga Hospital supports that. But if we prefer to put our education to work at the bedside, Saratoga Hospital supports that, too.
That’s a Magnet difference.
Magnet hospitals also promote innovation and look to nurses for input and guidance on key decisions. At Saratoga Hospital, nurses were a driving force behind the design of the state-of-the-art intensive care unit. We also weigh in on new technology and other investments, especially those that impact patient safety. Two examples include “smart” IV pumps and our “early warning system.” The first helps reduce medication errors. The second alerts us to subtle signs of potential trouble, so we can intervene before patients are at higher risk of complications.
Both offer the type of benefits patients can expect when they choose a Magnet hospital.
We know, from conversations with our colleagues at other facilities, that the support, respect and level of nursing engagement we enjoy at Saratoga Hospital are not typical of non-Magnet organizations. We also know, from various studies, that nurses at Magnet hospitals tend to have greater job satisfaction and, therefore, are less likely to leave. We’re proof of that: Each of us has been at Saratoga Hospital for more than two decades.
That continuity contributes to high-quality care, so we’re not surprised that studies also show patients do better and even have higher survival rates in Magnet hospitals.
As nurses who work in a Magnet hospital, we experience the Magnet difference in everything we do, every day. It’s that unwavering commitment to quality, evidence-based research and best practices that translates into the care every patient deserves.
Because of our experience, if a family member or friend needs hospital care, we ask if the facility has earned Magnet recognition. Now that you know more about Magnet, we hope you ask that question, too. We also hope you take comfort in knowing that, for your community hospital, the answer is a resounding, “yes.”
Michelle Little, BS, is a certified medical-surgical registered nurse and the director of the cardiac and renal medical surgical units at Saratoga Hospital. Jessica Malloy, MS, is a certified orthopedic nurse at Saratoga Hospital.