The public always is looking for tools to gauge the quality of a health care facility and its nursing excellence.
Accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Department of Public Health are among those tools.
Magnet designation, awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, is another.
Linda Kay Goodwin
A Magnet health care facility incorporates team building, professional development, research and high-level nursing strategies to achieve its goals.
Organizations that have received or are working toward Magnet certification are to be commended.
In 2005, West Virginia University Medical Center was awarded Magnet status. As an employee of the medical center, I recall receiving my Magnet pin with pride and being a small part of a tremendous team of people who worked hard to earn this prestigious designation on behalf of quality patient care.
In 2007, Hershey Medical Center received Magnet status. Geisinger Medical Center obtained Magnet recognition in 2008.
The Magnet Recognition Program builds on five components. The building blocks of this program may be accessed by searching the Web site www.nursecredentialing.org.
But for now, the following information will prepare you for next week's column, which will feature an interview with Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, director of the national Magnet Recognition Program.
What draws people to a particular health care facility? What makes it a "magnet" for professionals and the community?
Leadership is a big draw. So it's no wonder that the first component to becoming a Magnet-recognized health care facility is transformational leadership.
This means nursing leaders must be willing to move forward with new ideas in a changing health care system.
Structural empowerment is a second goal for Magnet recognition, creating structure and programs specific to the organization.
Exemplary professional nursing practice is a must for health care facilities preparing for Magnet certification. Encouraging and rewarding nurses who use evidence-based nursing practice and assisting nursing staff in advancing the science of nursing are benchmarks for this component.
New knowledge, innovation and empirical, quality results are the fourth and fifth building blocks of the Magnet Recognition Program.
It all sounds rather scientific, doesn't it? During the next year, however, I'll conduct a bit if research to define opportunities for improving nursing communication and patient outcomes.
There are so many small things that nurses can do to make a big difference in patient care. Many of those elements are a part of the Magnet recognition process for hospitals and health care organizations across the country.
All of us in the health care industry who work so hard to meet federal and state regulations hope you take the time to check out our "walls of honor," the framed certificates that keep us safe, regulated and progressive.
Linda Kay Goodwin, RN, BSN, MBA, is a nationally award-winning columnist and recipient of the American Academy of Nursing Media Award for Excellence in the presentation of Health Care Information to the Public. She is employed by Mount Nittany Medical Center and West Virginia University Medical Center.