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Hospital earns Magnet status for second time

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has done it again. The public, tax-supported hospital has once again been designated a “Magnet” hospital by the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

This designation is difficult to earn. Magnet status is a four-year designation awarded only to those hospitals that demonstrate excellence and professionalism in nursing determined by criteria set the ANCC.

Only 5 percent of hospitals in the United States have earned Magnet designation.

Worldwide, the number of hospitals achieving this high honor is less than 300.

So what does Magnet status mean?

For patients it means that the hospital has in place policies in place to ensure the highest level of nursing care, made possible by training opportunities and standards that result in the highest level of patient care and safety.

For the hospital, Magnet status translates to a sharp competitive edge in attracting nurses because applicants know that the hospital has met ANCC rigorous standards.

“More than a nursing award, it is a testament to the incredible teamwork and dedication of our entire staff to our patients’ safety and well-being,” Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKensie said in a press release announcing the award.

Independent studies show Magnet hospitals have shorter lengths of stay, higher patient satisfaction, better nurse-to-patient ratios and lower mortality rates, the ANCC says.

But once achieved, Magnet status must be maintained. The designation covers just four years and then the ANCC team is back for an on-site review.

To gain Magnet status once is an honor. To gain it twice, means commitment to those standards has not just stayed the same, but risen higher.

Magnet Commission Chairwoman Gail Wolf sang Sarasota Memorial’s praises in when she announced the re-designation in a recent phone call.

The hospital press release includes Wolf’s statement.

“Unless you’re really on top of all (the advances), it’s easy to have your designation slip,” she said. “But you’ve got it exactly where it needs to be. The entire commission applauds you . . . it was a unanimous decision!”

“We’re a better institution today because of our Magnet designation,” said Jan Mauck, RN, Sarasota’s chief nursing officer. “By focusing on advances in patient care, it inspires all of us - nurses, physicians, professional and support staff — to continually strive to be even better.”

Congratulations to Sarasota Memorial. This is one honor that is not given, but earned.