Recent Research About Nursing: Lower Mortality Rates at Magnet Hospitals

May 8, 2013, 9:16 AM

This is part of the May 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Hospitals that have achieved "Magnet" recognition have lower mortality rates, according to new research led by Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

McHugh and colleagues examined patient, nurse, and hospital data for 56 hospitals designated as Magnets by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, along with comparable data from 508 non-Magnet hospitals. They found that "Magnet hospitals had significantly better work environments and higher proportions of nurses with bachelor’s degrees and specialty certification," and that "patients treated in Magnet hospitals had 14 percent lower odds of mortality and 12 percent lower odds of failure-to-rescue." They concluded that "lower mortality we find in Magnet hospitals is largely attributable to measured nursing characteristics but there is a mortality advantage above and beyond what we could measure. Magnet recognition identifies existing quality and stimulates further positive organizational behavior that improves patient outcomes."

About 8 percent of hospitals in the United States have achieved Magnet designation. They are recognized for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice.

The study was published in the May issue of Medical Care, a journal of the American Public Health Association. McHugh is an RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar.

Learn more about the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program.
Read the study.
Read a FierceHealthcare story about the study.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.