June 11, 2021

Recognizing nursing excellence, leadership, and innovation

Nurses at 2 Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California commit to extraordinary care by pursuing Magnet® designation.

Only about 8% of U.S. hospitals achieve Magnet designation, a multi-year journey culminating in a rigorous peer review process that includes demonstrating superior care outcomes in safety, quality, and efficiency. Nurses at the Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center and the Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center demonstrated excellence, leadership, and innovation achieving this recognition.

Empowering and valuing nurses

“Magnet embodies a culture of teamwork and empowerment,” said Martha Dispoto, chief nurse executive at Anaheim Medical Center, which earned Magnet designation in 2018. “Our staff becomes involved through a shared decision-making model by joining different committees, actively participating with policy and procedure development, and with innovative technology.”

The Anaheim Medical Center outranks national benchmarks in patient satisfaction surveys for patient education, patient-centered care, responsiveness to nurse calls, and safety, as well as in nurse satisfaction surveys in many areas including autonomy, professional development, leadership access, and the quality of nursing care.

“This designation provides a tangible means of measuring up to the excellence standard in the nursing profession,” said Ruby Gill, chief nurse executive at the Irvine Medical Center, which attained Magnet recognition in 2017.

Putting the patient at the center

The recognition itself is not the most important outcome, it’s more about developing a culture of excellence, according to Juli McGinnis, regional program director, Professional Nursing Practice, Southern California. “Within a Magnet-designated facility, you will find clinically competent nurses, collaborative relationships within the health care teams, support for furthering professional development, nurse autonomy and accountability, supportive relationships with nurse managers, and, most importantly, the patient at the center of all decisions.”

A culture of excellence translates into patient outcomes, as seen in the interdisciplinary work of a safety committee at the Irvine Medical Center where patient falls were reduced by 64.6%, and in the case of a collaborative team of physicians, midwives, and front-line nurses from Anaheim and Irvine medical centers who lowered the number of cesarean section deliveries. Anaheim Medical Center cesarean section deliveries were reduced from 21.5% to 20.6%, and at Irvine Medical Center they decreased from 25.3% to 23.5%. Both hospitals now exceed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People Goal 2020 of less than 23.9% of deliveries being cesarean sections, according to Wendy Cortez, the Magnet program leader at the Irvine Medical Center.

At the heart of a positive work culture is transformational leadership. “When nurse leaders can unite others around a vision, motivate and inspire people to achieve shared goals through individual and team performance, lead by example, value individual contributions, and celebrate accomplishments in meaningful ways, staff becomes empowered to achieve,” said Careen Campbell, the Magnet program leader at our Anaheim Medical Center.

Magnet delivers multiple rewards

The benefits of attaining a Magnet designation are well documented by a number of national studies showing Magnet facilities are more likely to attract and retain top talent; improve patient care, quality, and safety; and contribute to a facility’s growth and financial stability due to less staff turnover and lower injury rates, according to Linda Knodel, senior vice president and chief nurse executive for Kaiser Permanente.

“Nursing teams across Kaiser Permanente are in various stages of the journey to achieving Magnet designation, with a national goal of all Kaiser Permanente facilities becoming designated by 2025,” Knodel said. “This designation will simply validate the skill and professionalism of our nurses and further our mission of advancing evidence-based care.”