Nurses achieve Magnet Status for University of Chicago Medical Center

February 14, 2007

The American Nurses Credentialing Center has awarded Magnet Recognition status to the University of Chicago Medical Center, making it one of only 235 hospitals nationwide--less than five percent of all U.S. hospitals--that have been designated Magnet facilities. The award is the highest level of recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It is valid for four years.

The Magnet Recognition Program, established by the ANCC in 1993, recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing practice and adherence to national standards for the organization and delivery of nursing services. Magnet criteria go beyond the standard measures of nursing skill levels, training and performance to examine how hospitals strive to maintain high quality nursing leadership, collaborative nurse and physician relationships, devotion to continuous quality improvement and opportunities for professional development.

To achieve Magnet status, a hospital must undergo a rigorous review process. Hospitals must demonstrate--on paper and in person--that they are committed to sustaining nursing excellence, improving professional practice and transforming the culture of a work environment.

The Magnet application process began at the University of Chicago Medical Center in July 2006 with submission of a 2,000-page document. It concluded with a three-day site visit in December, at which a team of appraisers from the ANCC observed nursing practice in action, making certain that day-to-day performance measured up to the standards set by the ANCC.

"Magnet status is based on compiling evidence that our nurses meet all ANCC criteria for the highest standards of nursing practice," said Jamie O'Malley, RN, MS, vice president for nursing services and chief nursing officer at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "Our physicians have long been recognized as among the best in the nation. With Magnet status, our nurses are now receiving recognition for their national prominence as well."

"We should all feel very proud of this achievement," she added. "The Magnet site visit was a significant milestone and we lived up to our theme: 'At the Forefront of Nursing Excellence.'"

Magnet recognition provides patients with one benchmark to measure the quality of care that they can expect to receive, according to the ANCC. Seven of the top-ten medical centers listed on the 2006 US News & World Report "Honor Roll," they point out, were Magnet hospitals.

The level of nursing care required to earn Magnet status "has been associated with direct benefits to patients," O'Malley said. "High quality nursing care can result in decreased length of stay, decreased risk of falls, reduced medication errors, fewer procedure complications and lower infection rates. It also is associated with higher job satisfaction among nurses and enhanced nurse-physician collaboration."

Magnet Recognition "embodies a professional environment guided by strong visionary nursing leadership that advocate and support development and excellence in nursing practice," according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center. "As a natural outcome of this, the program elevates the reputation and standards of the nursing profession."

"This was an important step for us as an institution," said David S. Hefner, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. "If you're going to focus on the most difficult cases, you have to provide superb nursing care. This is evidence that we do that. It provides outside verification of the excellence of our nurses, something we are proud of and have always known."

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