Utah's First Magnet Hospital

Salt Lake City — The nursing programs at Intermountain Health Care's LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Hospital in Murray, Alta View Hospital in Sandy and The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in Murray have earned certification from the American Nurses Association, the foremost nursing organization in the country, as Utah's first "Magnet" hospitals. In addition, the hospitals' Life Flight air transport service and Intermountain Healthcare's two dialysis centers in Salt Lake City also earned Magnet designation.

Magnet certification is the ANA's highest designation for nursing programs in the United States. Of the nation's 6,000 hospitals, less than 175 – or 3 percent – have earned Magnet status.

The Magnet certification recognizes hospitals that provide the very best in nursing care, that demonstrate leadership in advancing and improving patient-safety measures and that promote professional growth and opportunities for research and academic nursing settings. For example, the hospitals have developed a unique educational partnership with Salt Lake Community College, the first of its kind in the Salt Lake Valley, which is helping to alleviate the state's nursing shortage.

The four hospitals, which employ more than 2,100 nurses, earned Magnet status after a rigorous review and intensive survey process by the ANA's credentialing center, which included extensive interviews and review of all nursing services, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and overall patient care.

"This is a wonderful and worthy achievement that reflects the high quality and dedication of our outstanding nursing professionals who make a difference in the lives of our patients each and every day," says Donna Harland, chief nursing officer of Intermountain Health Care's Urban Central Region.

The Magnet certification process at LDS, Cottonwood, TOSH. and Alta View hospitals began in 2002 and culminated in a four-day survey last August, when Magnet inspectors visited every nursing unit at each hospital, including the off-site dialysis centers and the Life Flight program.

The Magnet designation is so named because credentialed hospitals attract and retain top nursing professionals, which is key to providing consistently high-quality patient care. That is a challenge as more than 126,000 nursing positions nationwide are vacant today, and that number is expected to skyrocket just as 78 million Baby Boomers begin placing unprecedented demands on America's heath-care system.

"Magnet designation helps consumers locate health care organizations that have a proven level of excellence in nursing care," according to the ANCC. "In an environment rife with controversy about patient safety in hospitals, medical error rates, and nursing shortages, consumers need to know how good the care is at their local hospitals. [Magnet is] a seal of approval for quality nursing care."

Magnet concepts have lower mortality rates, shorter lengths of stay, increased patient satisfaction, and increased staff satisfaction. Magnet status has also been found to dramatically improve a hospital's ability to recruit and retain nurses, physicians, and other staff members.

Magnet status is a professional accreditation that recognizes health care facilities for excellence in nursing. It's administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is a branch of the American Nurses Association.

A hospital earns Magnet status based on the quality of 14 factors that are called the forces of magnetism:

  • Quality of nursing leadership
  • Organizational structure
  • Management style
  • Personnel policies and procedures
  • Professional models of care
  • Quality of care
  • Quality improvement
  • Consultation and resources
  • Autonomy
  • Community and the hospital
  • Nurses as teachers
  • Image of nursing
  • Interdisciplinary relationships
  • Professional development

Intermountain Healthcare plans to evenetually have all its hospitals Magnet Certified. The schedule for certification is:

  • Urban South Region - 2007
  • Dixie - 2007
  • Urban North Region - 2008
  • Primary Children's Medical Center - 2008

LDS Hospital earned the prestigious "Magnet" designation for nursing excellence from the American Nursing Association