Lower Mortality in Magnet Hospitals

Exteriors of a hospital.

The nursing work environment and high-quality nursing workforce contribute to lower mortality rates in "Magnet" hospitals.


The Issue:

Magnet hospitals—formally designated as such by the American Nurses Credentialing Center—are recognized for their excellent work environment and their success in attracting and retaining nurses. Magnet hospitals also have been associated with better patient outcomes (such as fewer falls and fewer very low-birthweight infant deaths) than non-Magnet hospitals.


Key Findings:

  • Magnet hospitals had significantly better work environments, higher proportions of bachelor-educated nurses, higher proportions of specialty-certified nurses, and lower proportions of supplemental nursing staff.
  • In surgical units, 1.5 percent of patients died within 30 days of discharge from Magnet hospitals, compared to 1.8 percent from non-Magnet hospitals. Some 3.8 percent of surgical patients with complications died in Magnet hospitals compared to 4.6 percent in non-Magnet hospitals.



The researchers found the Magnet effect in hospitals was more than what could be attributed to the measured organizational characteristics. One possible explanation is that magnet recognition is a marker for preexisting quality, and a practice environment supportive of high quality nursing care.


About the Study:

Researchers compared 56 Magnet hospitals with 508 non-Magnet ones in four states—California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida—to determine whether organizational characteristics that differentiate Magnet hospitals from other hospitals were associated with lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates.