Staff Nurse Perceptions of the Magnet Journey: Implications for Nurse Leaders

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 1:55 PM

Laurie Ecoff, PhD, RN, NEA-BC
Nursing, Sharp Memorial Hospital/Research, Education, Professional Practice, San diego, CA
Linda Urden, DNSc, RN, CNS, NE-BC, FAAN
University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe staff nurse perceptions of the Magnet Journey.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify strategies to maintain nurse engagement in the Magnet Journey.

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop a broader understanding of organizational changes that occur during the time leading up to the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet designation. The specific aims of this study were to compile a rich description of the phenomenon “Magnet Journey” in a group of registered nurses in clinical settings who provide direct patient care with regards to:
  1. the factors that influence quality of care
  2. the factors that influence cultural transformation
  3. the factors that influence interdisciplinary collaboration

Methods: Focus groups were conducted at recently designated Magnet hospitals in Southern California. Participants were consented, asked to complete a demographic form and their responses to a series of questions about the Magnet Journey were digitally recorded. Data were transcribed and reviewed, coded, and themed by the research team.

Results: Subjects were registered nurses who had been employed in a staff nurse position during the 2-3 years prior to Magnet designation. The 58 subjects represented all work areas, specialties, and sites within the hospitals.

Key themes emerged consistent with components of the Magnet model and examples include: transformational leadership – exemplary relationships with the Chief Nursing Officer and direct supervisor; structural empowerment – participation in councils and access to professional development activities; exemplary professional practice – enhanced interdisciplinary relationships and autonomy; and new knowledge, innovations, and improvements – new research and innovative practice.

Overall staff nurses emphasized the positive impact of Magnet designation on all stakeholders. A surprising finding was staff nurse concern about what occurred during the post-designation period, describing a “slippage” of the practice and environmental supports and interactions.

Conclusion: Results from this study offer guidance for nurses leading the Magnet Journey (Chief Nursing Officers, Magnet Project Directors, advanced practice nurses, managers, and staff nurses) about maintaining nurse engagement in the post designation period.