Nursing 'magnet' program promoted
Thursday, March 20, 2003
By Christopher Snowbeck, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
No hospitals in Pittsburgh have been recognized for excellent nursing care by the American Nurses Association's "magnet" program.
So yesterday, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation hosted a daylong meeting at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to introduce local health care professionals to the Magnet Recognition Program, operated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the ANA. About 60 hospitals across the country -- and only three in Pennsylvania -- have been designated as magnet facilities.
"Nurses have to believe they are in an environment that enables them to provide quality care," said Sheila P. Englebardt, a nursing professor at the University of North Carolina.
About 100 people gathered for the forum, which was sponsored by Health Careers Futures, an affiliate of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation established last year to address work force shortages.
A hospital seeking the magnet designation typically takes between eight months and two years to complete the application process, which costs several thousand dollars, depending on the hospital's size. It includes a two-day inspection in which surveyors assess the quality of nursing leadership, the extent to which quality care is a hospital priority and whether nurses have autonomy.
The nurse association looks at several quality indicators, such as how often patients suffer falls and pressure ulcers, the total nursing care hours provided by patient day and the mix of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and unlicensed staff that provide nursing care.
Magnet hospitals typically have high nurse satisfaction, low job turnover and low nurse vacancy rates even when hospitals in close proximity experience shortages.
Organizers of yesterday's forum said hospitals should seek the designation as a way to combat the nursing shortage, since research has shown that magnet hospitals are better able to recruit and retain nurses.
The benefits would accrue to patients as well as workers, said Karen Wolk Feinstein, president of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.
Margaret Priselac, chief executive officer of UPMC Braddock, said all hospitals in the UPMC Health System aspire to the credential. The broader goal, she said, is that "nurses across the country would see Pittsburgh as a place where they want to come and work."
Christopher Snowbeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org