UMC’s Magnet Designation Helps Build a Better Healthcare Environment for Staff and Patients

Jul 10th, 2023 | Progress Notes

A Bird’s-Eye View on the Details of Healthcare

UMC has consistently exhibited the practices and excellence necessary for over a decade to achieve the high bar of the ANCC’s Magnet designation. Through a combination of nursing excellence and high-quality patient care, the details that make the difference in patient experience and patient outcomes have been carefully ministered to, building what Mary Bias, Program Director for Magnet, calls a “bottom-up” focus on organization, bringing bedside nurses to the table to discuss how to treat our patients best. And who better to make those determinations than those in our staff who most intimately care for our patients?

A High-Bar That’s Become Our Shared Standard of Care

To achieve Magnet designation, hospitals and healthcare organizations must undergo a rigorous evaluation process that assesses their nursing leadership, collaboration, professionalism, patient outcomes, and overall nursing excellence. The evaluation includes an extensive review of the organization’s policies, procedures, and patient care outcomes, as well as on-site visits and interviews with nurses and other staff members. As an indicator of UMC’s success in achieving these goals, in its most recent re-designation, the hospital system was offered a site visit (often one of the final parts of the process) after its initial submission outlining our adherence to the designation’s criteria—this means that Team UMC is among only 7% of hospitals that are Magnet designated that so clearly met the criteria, and further, that’s among only 8-9% of hospitals that achieve the designation at all.

Further, UMC was recognized with Exemplars, among Magnet’s highest honors. CEO Mark Funderburk wrote of these recognitions that, “One Exemplar noted within our recent survey in particular speaks to UMC nurses’ response within the dark days of the pandemic. Redeployment, Vaccine fairs, Innovative approaches to vent management, and honoring of lost colleagues…collectively describe a team of professionals who moved heaven and earth for the souls in their charge. For all that was attempted and accomplished, I am forever grateful.”

More Than an Award: The Tangible Results of the Magnet Designation

UMC receives several high-level commendations, and it’s certainly hard sometimes to understand their differences or how they positively affect our medical staff on a daily basis—what are the tangible results of this award versus that? Sometimes these awards distinguish our dependability or trustworthiness as a hospital system, our ability to perform exceptionally in certain medical spaces, or result from positive surveying from current and former patients or even our own staff. Magnet is different in many ways in that it focuses very specifically on reaching what are widely considered some of the highest standards in nursing practice.

Having and maintaining a Magnet designation means a lot for our nursing staff. For example, it means having a generally higher level of education among our nurses. UMC, supporting this effort, offers higher rates of pay for certifications and education levels, differentials meant to bring nursing experts into our clinics and ICUs. Combine those differentials with robust education reimbursement programs, and a picture begins to appear highlighting a reciprocal development strategy that improves the patient outcomes and experiences within the hospital and improves the knowledge base and practice of our bedside nurses.

Most Importantly, Through Magnet, Our Nurses’ Voices Drive Innovation

Though meeting the high bar required of the Magnet designation means an opportunity for investing in our staff, Magnet also drives conversations and organization from our nurses who invest in our hospital. The establishment of committees, including organizations like our Magnet Ambassadors, responsible for a whole host of Magnet-related education and awareness, contribute more widely to our Service is Our Passion culture. Every voice from every nurse or contributing team member is heard and lifted, and suggestions are often enacted as a policy that improves our patient outcomes, helping people in our community and their families. Further, these suggestions from those who truly understand the challenges slowly shape an environment more conducive to medical practice and caregiving at UMC.

In reflecting on the importance of Magnet and all of the hard work that goes into achieving the designation, Mary said, “For our nurses, Magnet means having a say in the environment in which you practice care. For our patients, it means top care—better outcomes and shorter stays, meaning you can get back to what you’re most passionate about.”

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