North Mountain Hospital Earns Third Magnet Designation

Only 1 percent of hospitals have earned third Magnet for patient care quality

At 11 a.m. today, John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital was notified in a phone call from the American Nurses Association – the nation's foremost authority on the quality of patient care – that it has become the first medical facility in Arizona to be designated a Magnet facility for the third consecutive time. Less than 1 percent of the nation's hospitals have been designated Magnet three times.

Magnet Nursing Hospital

More than 100 John C. Lincoln co-workers were present in the hospital's first floor conference room to hear the phone call and to erupt in cheers when Deborah Zimmermann, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, the 2013 chairperson of the Commission on the Magnet Recognition Program, confirmed the hospital's third Magnet designation. The Commission is part of the ANA American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Magnet status is based on documented exemplary practice and outcomes for patient care and is considered the nation's gold standard for nursing quality. Only about 6 percent of the nation's 6,000-plus hospitals have earned Magnet status. Less than 3 percent of that group has earned redesignation and less than 1 percent has been designated a third time.

In the call to Maggi Griffin, RN, MS, vice president and chief nursing officer at the North Mountain hospital, which was broadcast over the speakers to the audience of nurses, other patient care professionals and administrators, Zimmerman said the third designation put the patient care staff into a very elite group that earned a recognition that is very difficult to achieve.

"This is a very prestigious honor that is now based on measurable outcomes – successful hospitals have to demonstrate quality patient care, excellent leadership, nurse satisfaction, patient satisfaction and professional research that adds to the library of evidence-based care," Griffin said.

"Earning Magnet designation is more difficult every time around," she added, "and it should be! This Magnet recognition is especially meaningful."

North Mountain's Magnet quality was highlighted because along with its third Magnet designation, the ANCC announced the hospital had been honored with two Exemplar Awards, recognition that North Mountain outperformed the benchmark for all other Magnet hospitals in "Nurse Satisfaction" and in "Service to the Community."

"There are eight categories that make up ‘Nurse Satisfaction,' and we exceeded the benchmark in all of them," Griffin said. "That is really significant." The hallmark of Magnet hospitals is the way all staff work together to best serve patients' needs.

Its keys are collegial collaboration and empowering the bedside nurse to provide the best possible patient care. Collaboration includes shared leadership – the opportunity for nurses at all levels to work with physicians and hospital administrators to develop or improve patient care policies and procedures. Empowered nurses have the education, skills and authority to take action to make changes they see are needed to improve patient care.

Regarding the Community Service Award, "They were very impressed with Desert Mission," said Maripat Burrell, RN, MSN, program manager for Magnet in Nursing Professional Practice, who shepherded the hospital's journey to its third Magnet designation.

"The appraisers asked to tour the Food Bank, Children's Dental Clinic, Community Health Center and Marley House," Burrell said, "and they were amazed with the large number of enthusiastic and supportive community representatives who met with them. They praised the wonderful partnership we have with our community, which is especially important in today's health care environment.

In December 2004, John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital became first in the Valley to receive Magnet status. It was more difficult to earn redesignation in 2009, when surveyors from the Commission on the Magnet Recognition Program completed a three-day site visit at the hospital, during which they verified, clarified and amplified the information submitted in the redesignation application.

An even more comprehensive evaluation took place Oct. 7, 8 and 9, 2013 when, in addition to prior standard review procedures, Commission surveyors wanted to see data documenting nurses' involvement in patient care outcomes, the quality indicators nurses monitor and their performance in actively improving on those benchmarks.

"The important thing about Magnet is that it reflects the quality of patient care throughout our hospital – this is recognition we all share," Griffin said. "It is an honor for all of our co-workers."

Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network President Rhonda Forsyth added, "While I was very confident this would happen, Magnet standards rise over time – every year more is demanded of hospitals to meet these standards. The North Mountain team is to be recognized for a job very well done."

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