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Nursing recruitment

Magnet status can help attract top talent

BY: John Roszkowski on September 22, 2017

Many hospitals find Magnet status can be a useful recruiting and branding tool

Achieving Magnet accreditation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center can help hospitals stand out in the heavily competitively healthcare environment. Magnet status can give hospitals a competitive edge as they seek out top nursing talent.

The intense certification process required to meet Magnet criteria is no easy task. That’s why just 461 U.S. healthcare organizations carry the designation out of 5,564 U.S. registered hospitals, according to the ANCC. Much research suggests Magnet hospitals have lower rates of staff burnout, higher levels of nurse education and better patient outcomes than non-Magnet facilities.

Magnet status can draw new recruits

For these and other reasons, many nursing candidates are attracted to Magnet hospitals. Having the Magnet credential is quite alluring to new recruits and can be a powerful marketing tool for employers, according to Toby Marsh, MSN, RN, MSA, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing patient care services officer with UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif.

Staff from UC Davis Medical Center frequently speak at healthcare conferences, and when they do, they talk about what it means to be a Magnet organization and how it sets them apart, Marsh said. By using the Magnet logo on marketing materials, it helps organizations like UC Davis Medical Center show they meet high standards of patient care and job satisfaction for nurses, which helps draw in nursing candidates.

Ellen Kissinger, Magnet program director with UC Davis Medical Center said that when she attends conferences, the Magnet logo is well recognized by nurses who seek out these hospitals.

“I remember having the Magnet logo on our marketing materials at a conference and it seemed like nurses gravitated towards organizations with the Magnet logo,” she said.

Many nurses filter their online job searches to find Magnet organizations, according to Donna Poduska, MS, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer with UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Col.

After the hospital first received Magnet recognition in 2002, Poduska said interviewers used to ask applicants if they were applying for jobs because of the hospital’s Magnet status. Nearly 50% of the Poudre Valley Hospital applicants said the Magnet designation was a factor that attracted them to the job, Poduska said.

Because many healthcare professionals view Magnet status as the gold standard in healthcare systems and delivery, it can help hospitals attract nurses with highly sought after skills or those in specialty nursing areas that can be hard jobs to fill, according to officials with American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Loressa Cole, executive director and executive vice president of the ANCC, said in an email statement the Magnet designation is frequently used by hospitals in their recruitment and marketing efforts.

“Magnet hospitals proudly promote this credential of nursing excellence in a variety of recruitment approaches, including marketing strategies, websites, billboards, publications and job fairs,” Cole said.

Because Magnet often is associated with better work environments and better patient care, Cole said “Magnet facilities are more readily able to attract (and retain) nursing staff than competing hospitals who do not hold this prestigious designation.”

Poduska said some applicants strictly target Magnet hospitals in their job searches, especially if they have worked at one previously.

“They are coming here because they know what they are used to – the collaboration and the professional environment,” she said.

Magnet status can improve retention

Once in a job at a Magnet hospital, many nurses quickly learn their true value to the nursing team, said Denise Occhiuzzo, MS, RN, BC, administrator of nursing professional services and Magnet program director with Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

“We have a philosophy of shared decision-making,” she said. “And our council is headed by staff nurses so they have a voice in decision making.”

Marsh said the Magnet credential is more than a recruiting tool, it’s a retention tool. He pointed out the lower levels of employees who leave UC Davis Medical Center.

“Our turnover rate for the past year is 8.4%,” Marsh said.  This is far lower than the national average nurse turnover rate of 16.2% in 2016, reported by NSI Nursing Solutions’ 2017 National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report.

Nurses sometimes gravitate towards Magnet hospitals because those hospitals tend to have better career advancement opportunities and education.

At Hackensack University Medical Center, Occhiuzzo said nurses can request flex schedules that help accommodate their course load if they choose to work toward an advanced degree.

“One thing that attracts a nurse here is that they know they will have continuing education,” Occhiuzzo said.

To learn more about Magnet hospitals, see our Magnet Digital Resource Guide.


Freelance writer Elise Oberliesen contributed to the writing and research of this article.

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John Roszkowski

John Roszkowski is content manager of healthcare recruitment for the Advertising Solutions division at OnCourse Learning. He creates and manages content for the Nursing Recruitment Source blog, newsletters and Digital Resource Guides. He has developed content for healthcare and financial services at OnCourse Learning for the past four years. He has more than 25 years of writing and editing experience and previously worked at weekly and daily newspapers.