Clinical Center News
Feb / Mar 2023

NIH Clinical Center reaches milestone in Magnet accreditation journey

Clinical Center CEO and CNO address staff
Clinical Center CEO, Dr. James Gilman (right), speaks before the Magnet application is formally submitted prior to remarks from Dr. Barbara Jordan (left), acting chief nursing officer.

On Jan. 12, the NIH Clinical Center reached its first major milestone in the journey to Magnet® accreditation when it submitted a formal application to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This submission process started in 2021.

According to researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, Magnet-accredited organizations demonstrate excellence in nursing practice, high-quality patient outcomes and exceed robust benchmarks for the safety of patients. They also value interprofessional teamwork, create an environment of excellence and strive to elevate nursing practice through evidence-based care, professional development and leadership. Magnet recognition affirms the compassion, quality and dedication that an organization offers patients and their families. The quality of these organizations can help attract talented and motivated staff, which can perpetuate the organization's success

"When the Clinical Center's leadership decided to embark on the Magnet journey, it was to demonstrate the Clinical Center's commitment to excellent patient outcomes and a positive practice environment for its staff," said Dr. Barbara Jordan, the Clinical Center's acting chief nurse officer.

"By submitting our Magnet application, we are demonstrating our intent to be recognized as an excellent organization where patients want to receive care and staff members want to work."

The Magnet application included detailed data about the Clinical Center, for example number of licensed beds, average daily census and average length of stay. Additionally, it included supporting documents that included the hospital and  Nursing Department's Organizational Charts and a list of all external databases used to collect Registered Nurse Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction and Nurse Sensitive Indicator metrics. Perhaps most significantly, the application included a proposed April 2024 timeline for completing its “Magnet Document,” which is a collection of narratives, metrics and supporting evidence that demonstrate how the Clinical Center meets Magnet requirements.

Years of Preparation
Over the past two years, the nursing department has hosted several virtual events, including a kick-off for Clinical Center staff to learn about Magnet and the benefits of the program. The Nursing Department also hosted special-interest virtual sessions to address questions that staff members had about the program, and to provide updates on the application process. The team set up information tables within the Clinical Center on several occasions to educate staff and the public about the Magnet program, its requirements and process.

The work done in preparation for last January’s application submission also included reviewing and identifying gaps so that the Clinical Center can align with the Magnet Model of excellence. The hospital undertook a critical review of the Magnet Manual Standards to ensure the hospital can align its work, structures, and outcomes with the requirements for accreditation. This required a lot of foundational building and bridging gaps, such as developing a Clinical Center Nursing Department Strategic Plan for 2022-2024. 

Another important element to help reach the submission milestone was creating Magnet Readiness, Document, Steering and Ambassador Teams. For example, the Magnet Ambassador team focuses on Magnet readiness through communication and education. The team works to endorse the program among hospital staff and Institute colleagues, facilitate an atmosphere of excellence and promote engagement and enculturation of Magnet concepts within the hospital. The Magnet Document Team is focused on crafting the 2024 document, which is the next milestone in the journey. The Magnet document is a collection of narratives, metrics and supporting evidence that demonstrate how the Clinical Center meets Magnet requirements.

Next Steps
After the planned submission of the Clinical Center's Magnet document in April 2024, a period of public comment for patients and staff will be offered. An onsite appraisal team visit will follow. The team will determine how well Magnet concepts have been incorporated within the organization through stakeholder visits and interviews with nursing staff. The visit is an opportunity for the Clinical Center to shine.

The ANCC Commission on Magnet will conduct a thorough review of the Clinical Center's submission and site visit evaluations, and will provide its accreditation decision in late 2024 or early 2025.

"We have accomplished a great deal of foundational work in order to successfully submit our application this past January," said Rachel Coumes, Magnet program manager. "I look forward to the next steps of our accreditation journey."

More information about Magnet accreditation can be found on the hospital's Magnet page.

- Yvonne Hylton

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