Magnet® Designation Creates a Baseline for Excellence

In May 2021, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System achieved American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition®.

Magnet Recognition® also means exceptional care and an outstanding experience for the patients and communities that SVMHS serves, as well as for nurses. Not surprisingly, patient care, experience and nurse satisfaction are linked. Research shows that more empowered, more engaged and more satisfied nurses not only reduce patients’ mortality risk, but also improve patients’ experience of care.

The Journey, In Brief

The work required to achieve Magnet® designation, captured in each of the annual reports since 2016 and in many of the stories in this one, included the development of key foundational elements that nurses at SVMHS continue to adapt for their evolving culture. These include:

  • Formation of a shared governance structure
  • Creation of a data-driven culture
  • Development of a professional practice model
  • Implementation of nursing peer review and peer feedback
  • Creation of the infrastructure for nursing research and evidence-based practice
  • Establishment of reward and recognition programs, like the DAISY Award®
  • Creation of a nursing strategic plan
Nurses gathered in a hallway holding signs of encouraging messages
Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital nurses celebrate their achievement of Magnet Recognition®, holding signs that represent the foundational elements of their nursing culture.

“These elements provided the framework we needed to ensure the development of a professional practice culture,” Wisner says.

For example, shared governance provides the structure and processes for clinical nurses to have the authority to make decisions about their day-to-day nursing practice. To that end, SVMHS nurses determined what they wanted to achieve through shared governance and then created unit-level practice councils, central councils, and an oversight Collaborative Care Council.

Practically, the councils oversee the other crucial elements of a Magnet® hospital. A key piece is ensuring that nurses embrace the use of data, both to support innovation and clinical inquiry and to drive evidence-based decision-making for improved outcomes.

“The journey has been monumental, requiring an enormous investment in both effort and infrastructure. To achieve what only 9% of U.S. hospitals achieve, and to complete the last stages of the process during the COVID-19 pandemic, is very impressive and a tribute to this extraordinary organization and its nurses.”

Kirsten Wisner, PHD, RNC-OB, CNS, C-EFM, NE-BC
Magnet Program Director

In addition, the SVMHS professional practice model emphasizes “Pride in care, every patient, every day.” That syncs up with the end goal of the Magnet® journey: to develop a professional practice culture that ensures nurses have a supportive environment with the resources they need to practice to the full extent of their license and where patients are confident that they are receiving exemplary care. A focus on interprofessional collaboration with physicians, pharmacists, social workers, physical and respiratory therapists and the many other professionals that ensure high-quality care contributes to this.

The Magnet Recognition Program® also emphasizes that it’s important for nurses to have access to resources that help them to grow professionally to the highest level they desire and have opportunities to advance within the organization. Nurses at SVMHS have developed numerous programs and supports to encourage professional development and reward nurses who dedicate themselves to the levels of excellence that the Magnet Recognition Program® demands. These include mentoring, succession planning, on-site professional specialty certification courses and incentives, support for advanced degrees, preceptor development courses, and structured transitions to practice programs.

Looking Ahead

The results have been extraordinary. Many nurse-sensitive indicators at SVMHS consistently outperform national benchmarks. Employee engagement scores have soared from the 6th percentile in 2015 to the 85th percentile today. That matters more than ever, as the country is in the throes of a nursing shortage of true crisis proportions, and nurse retention has become the focus of nearly every hospital in the nation.

The good news is that there is more to come.

“This is just our baseline,” Wisner says. “Now that we’ve achieved this status, we will continue to evolve and lead, thus fulfilling our nursing vision: ‘to be an innovative leader in nursing excellence—a place where patients choose to come and nurses want to practice.’

Learn more by clicking on the link below.

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