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Massachusetts General Hospital recognized for continued nursing excellence


American Nurses Association renews highest honors of Magnet status

BOSTON - April 2008 - The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) today formally designated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as a “Magnet” hospital through 2012. Magnet designation represents the highest available honor for nursing excellence, and in 2003, MGH became the first hospital in the state to earn Magnet status. Fewer than 5 percent of the hospitals in the United States are Magnet designated, and the renewed honor for MGH acknowledges the hospital’s continued high-quality patient care and innovations in professional nursing practice.

“MGH has a long tradition of nursing excellence, leadership, learning, and high-quality, compassionate care. I am very proud of this noteworthy recognition,” says Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer. “We are honored to receive this prestigious distinction from the ANCC, which truly recognizes the MGH community as a whole-our interdisciplinary, patient- and family-centered practice.”

The concept of Magnet designation was born out of a 1983 study by the American Academy of Nursing Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals to identify and describe variables that created an environment that attracted and retained well-qualified nurses who promote quality patient care. Forty-one of the 163 institutions studied were described as “Magnet” hospitals because of their ability to attract and retain professional nurses despite a significant nursing shortage. In 1990, the American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors approved a national Magnet recognition program, and responsibility for the development and maintenance of this program was assigned to the ANCC. The ANCC is a separately incorporated and governed subsidiary of the ANA.

The multi-phased Magnet evaluation process for MGH involved a thorough review of both written and observed evidence of the quality of nursing practice against specific ANCC standards and criteria. The MGH documentation submitted to the ANCC in 2007 totaled some 2,600 pages of “written evidence,” which appraisers reviewed and scored, earning the hospital a site visit. In late February, a team of five ANCC appraisers spent three days evaluating the hospital’s performance and its ability to integrate the ANCC standards into practice, the delivery of care, professional development, inter-disciplinary teamwork, quality and safety, leadership, documentation and the ability to provide culturally competent care. Throughout their onsite visit, the appraisers visited multiple patient care units and practice areas, and interviewed all members of the health care team, including patients and families, as well as hospital leadership.

Surrounded by members of her leadership team, Ives Erickson received official notification of the hospital’s Magnet redesignation via a phone call from Brenda Kelly, RN, MA, CNAA, BC, chair, Commission on the Magnet Recognition Program. Kelly shared that it was a pleasure for the ANCC to review the MGH, noting that the hospital was doing many great things. During their February site visit, the appraisers also noted that they were especially impressed by the high level of quality care and attention to patient safety, as well as the depth and breadth of interdisciplinary teamwork they observed throughout the hospital.

“This is a tremendous and well-deserved recognition,” says Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of the MGH. “I applaud the coordinated effort this took from all corners of the hospital. From the Cancer Center to the Heart Center, from the MassGeneral for Children to Orthopaedics and Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Services, all of the members of Patient Care Services and the hospital community were instrumental in helping the MGH receive this wonderful honor.”

The Magnet Recognition Program is based on five model components-transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, new knowledge, innovation and improvements, and empirical quality results. These quality indicators and standards of nursing practice include the appraisal of both qualitative and quantitative factors in nursing. The program also provides a vehicle for disseminating successful practices and strategies among nursing systems, allowing nurses at MGH and other Magnet hospitals to serve as role models for the delivery of nursing care locally, nationally and internationally.

“I am reminded daily that MGH nurses are the best of the best,” says Ives Erickson. “It’s quite gratifying to have the American Nurses Association formally reconfirm what I’ve always known, that I work with the greatest nurses in the world.”

Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000 visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies each year.

The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve on the faculty. The MGH was the first in the state to achieve Magnet status for nursing, and it is consistently ranked among the nation’s top hospitals by US News and World Report.


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