Magnet hospitals have fewer surgical deaths

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Although high nursing standards have long been associated with better patient care, a new study in the journal Medical Care finds that hospitals with "Magnet" status have fewer surgical patient mortalities.

About 400 hospitals, or 8 percent in the country, have the American Nurses Credentialing Center designation in nursing excellence.

According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing, patients treated in Magnet hospitals had 14 percent lower odds of death than those in non-Magnet hospitals and 12 percent lower odds of failure to rescue.

Researchers concluded better outcomes had to do with high nurse satisfaction and less nurse burnout, as well as lower patient fall rates and lower mortality among very low birth-weight infants.

"The better outcomes can be attributed in large part to investments in highly qualified and highly educated nurses and practice environments supportive of high-quality nursing care," lead study author Matthew D. McHugh, a public health policy expert at Penn Nursing, said in a statement yesterday. "Our findings reinforce that better work environments for nurses are the distinguishing factor between Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals and are the key to better patient outcomes."

The study echoes earlier literature about the correlation between improved outcomes and Magnet status.

An April study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found Magnet hospitals had better neonatal intensive care unit outcomes. Babies were less likely to suffer a brain hemorrhage or infection and were more likely to survive their first week.

In addition, Magnet hospitals are more likely to adopt high safe practices than non-Magnet facilities, according to a study in the Journal of Nursing Administration last year. Magnet hospitals had significantly higher mean composite safe practice scores than non-certified hospitals.

For more information:
- see the UPenn announcement
- check out the study

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