WVU Hospitals Honored for Nursing Excellence

First in State to Receive Magnet Designation

 ANCC Magnet Recognition logo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s one of the highest levels of recognition a hospital can achieve. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has named WVU Hospitals a recipient of the Magnet award for excellence in nursing services.

“The Magnet designation is a tremendous achievement for WVU Hospitals, but it doesn’t change who we are,” said WVUH President Bruce McClymonds. “It simply recognizes the excellent work our nurses do each day and reflects the commitment of our entire staff to serve as a team, providing the highest quality care possible for the people of our community.”  WVUH nurses celebrate Magnet certification

The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing philosophy and practice, adherence to national standards for improving patient care, leadership and sensitivity to cultural and ethnic diversity. Applicants undergo a rigorous evaluation that includes extensive interviews and review of nursing services, clinical outcomes and patient care.

The Magnet effort began in the 1980s when nurses began to struggle with the short and long-term reality of national nursing shortages. The American Academy of Nursing estimates that 126,000 nursing positions are vacant today. That number is expected to skyrocket as 78 million baby boomers begin placing unprecedented demands on America's heath care system.

In 1983, the American Academy of Nursing's task force on nursing practice in hospitals conducted a study of U.S. hospitals. The research identified and described variables that created an environment that attracted and retained well-qualified nurses. These variables were called "forces of magnetism," and the institutions were called "Magnets" because they attracted and kept good nurses. The study found that quality patient care was provided through sustaining excellence in nursing services.

The American Nurses Association approved the initial proposal to recognize excellence in nursing services in 1990. Since 1994, the program has expanded to include organizations around the world. The U.S. government has endorsed the Magnet Recognition Program through the Nurse Reinvestment Act, which encourages facilities to implement Magnet criteria for excellence in nursing services, to help hospitals develop recruitment and retention strategies, and to establish national nursing scholarships.

Magnet designation helps consumers locate health care organizations that have a proven level of excellence in nursing care. Independent research shows there are clear benefits to hospitals that are awarded Magnet status and to the communities they serve. Magnet-designated facilities consistently outperform other facilities in recruiting and retaining nurses – resulting in increased stability in patient care and positive outcomes. In addition, Magnet-designated facilities have lower mortality rates and shorter lengths of stay. Magnet facilities also experience increased time spent at the bedside of patients, have lower incidence of needlestick injuries, enjoy increased nurse retention and recruitment rates and report higher patient satisfaction rates.

To apply for Magnet designation, A WVUH steering committee, with the assistance of employees and community members, submitted a detailed report, proving the hospital meets Magnet eligibility criteria and possesses the “forces of magnetism” required for Magnet status. Among the criteria are quality of nursing leadership, management style, personnel policies and programs, quality of care, quality improvement, interdisciplinary relationships and professional development.

“Achieving Magnet status has been a hospital-wide effort that not only involved nurses, but also involved physicians, ancillary departments as well as others,” said Dottie Oakes, WVUH vice president and chief nurse executive. “We are very proud to be the first and only hospital in West Virginia to earn Magnet status, and we are committed to continuing our tradition of providing quality health care. We have joined a respected, elite international group.”

The ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association and is the largest and most prominent nursing credentialing organization in the United States. WVU Hospitals’ Magnet status, which includes annual reviews, is valid for four years.
WVU Hospitals, which currently employs 1,044 nurses, was recently recognized by the American Association of Retired Persons as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50” and was also recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the top 100 employers in the country for working mothers.

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For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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