3 ways Magnet nurses deliver quality care

Research shows that both "Magnet" designations for hospitals and increased rates of nurse satisfaction result in better patient outcomes, and at a hospital recognized for some of the nation's best nursing care, nurses say the improved care comes down to several factors.

Both Rush University Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital have earned the Magnet designation, with the Medical Center achieving it four times and Rush Oak Park one of approximately 50 hospitals of its size (200-300 beds) to earn it.

Nurses at Magnet hospitals provide above-average care in three distinct ways, according to nurses at the institutions. They:

Deliver patient-centered care with doctors' cooperation: Magnet nurses are able to determine what's best for patients because physicians work with them and trust them with care decisions. "There's autonomy on the job, and the doctors really listen to you and they respect you when you have a concern," said Mark Shaulinskas, R.N., who works in the Medical Center's interventional services department. Similarly, Rush Oak Park Hospital nursing staff have developed a handoff system that enlists patients and their family in the process by discussing each case at their bedside.

Take the lead in care innovation: For example, at the Medical Center, Rush nurses have pioneered an initiative aimed at improving post-operative recovery. The American Nursing Credentialing Committee, which issues Magnet designations, singled out the initiative for praise after it reduced recovery times and complications for colon and rectal surgery patients.

Make excellent care--not just the recognition--the goal: Nurses at the two providers emphasize that Magnet status is simply the measure of excellence in nursing care, and everything that enables that excellence should be in place before the organization seeks the designation.

To learn more:
- read Rush's announcement