www.advanceweb.com | 2018 | MAGNET EDITION 13 MAGNET EDITION | RETENTION of hospitals with the Magnet designation reapply. As previously mentioned, it takes approximately four years to achieve certifi- cation (which is why the process is referred to as a “journey”). The Magnet journey is quite expensive. Hospitals must achieve higher than nor- mal benchmarks on many quality indicators, such as Falls, CAUTI’s, HAPU, CLABSI, VAP, Restraints, etc. As expected, a higher per- centage of BSN and specialty certified nurses is encouraged, as outlined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing Initiative. Nurses in Leadership and Management positions must also meet stringent criteria related to educational preparation, i.e. nurs- ing degrees.1 So, what on earth could this mean for an individual nurse at a Magnet facility? Exactly. You may have read my mind. Nurses who have worked on the process of earning a Magnet designation have discussed feeling energized and excited by the work, as well as experiencing a sense of collaboration by working closely with administration. They were emboldened when able to speak up and be leaders. After achieving the designation, nurses attend annual conferences and feel empow- ered by seeing nurse leaders who are doing research that is impactful to nurses of the future. They come home and feel an energy that is unlike anything they have felt before. They are renewed. But, when questioned later, or compared to a cohort of nurses working at non-Mag- net hospitals, they score no higher than their peers. They may score slightly safer on a phys- ical level, but their hours are no different, and they appear no happier with their careers than their non-Magnet colleagues. What was surprising, and not explained by quantitative research, was that nurses of color were poorly represented at Magnet facilities: 16.1 percent versus 8.6 percent. Additionally, although nurses at Magnet facilities expressed that they were asked to work less overtime, their overall work hours per week were nearly identical to their non-Magnet cohorts, sug- gesting that nurses overall may understand their physical limitations.5 What happened to the Magnet nurses’ excitement? Where did it go? While completing research, I found bits and pieces of nurse reviews threaded through var- ious articles and blogs, where nurses stated that Magnet status had grown “bigger” than a nursing ideal. As nurses articulated, they were originally enthralled by the idea of Magnet, and loved being part of the process. However, they believed it became an organizational pro- cess once completed, rather than a bonus for nursing. Once in place, nurses stated it felt more about marketing, and less about them. I found this to be interesting, along with the fact that a majority of Magnet-designated hospitals began to turn a profit soon after they became certified, which more than offsets the cost of “getting there.” Nurses could be sensing a dichotomy in values that has yet to be quantified or stud- ied. Very little research has been conducted to determine the effect Magnet designation has on nursing retention. The only published research puts the data at ~ 1.7 percent increase, which isn’t a huge gain.3,4 For nurses thinking about looking at a Magnet facility, do your homework. Know what the expectations are. Do you wish to be surrounded by nurses at the top of their game, excellent mentors, those who might push you a bit towards specialty certification and pursuing further academia? Give it a try. Or are you looking to take it a bit easier your first year or two out, but maybe accumulate more tuition reimbursement (or other bene- fits) for later? You have options. If you are a nurse of color, you might wonder about that research statistic. Why are the overall per- centages lower at Magnet facilities? Perhaps ANCC could provide an answer for that statistic. And if you really, really want to be stoked, head towards a hospital that is starting their Magnet journey. Nurses have stated that’s when they really enjoyed being a part of the process! You can be empowered. And you can assist in gilding the future of excellence. n Diane Goodman, RN, MSN-C, CCRN, CNRN, is a semi-retired Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with over 40 years of fulltime nursing experience. Although she no longer works fulltime as a Clinical Educator, she has maintained an active status as a Nursing Journalist & consultant during the last few years, writing and collaborating with nurses around the globe. References 1. “Frequently Asked Questions About Magnet” UC Davis Medical center. ucdmc.ucdavis.edu. 2. “Should I Work for a Magnet hospital?” Geraldo, P., June 2, 2017, Nurse.org. 3. “Magnet Status: What Is It, What It Is Not and What It Could Be.” The truth about nursing.org/ faq/magnet.html. Last updated 10-2-2016 4. Renter, M., Allen, A., Thella, A. & Foley, L. “How Magnet Designation Affects Nurse Retention: An Evidence-based Research Project.” March 2014, Volume 9, Number 3, American Nurse Today. 5. Trinkoff, A. et al. “A Comparison of Working Con- ditions Among Nurses in Magnet & Non-Magnet Hospitals.” July/August 2010, Volume 40, Number 7/8, JONA: Journal of Nursing Administration. After achieving the designation, nurses attend annual conferences and feel empowered by seeing nurse leaders who are doing research that is impactful to nurses of the future. They come home and feel an energy that is unlike anything they have felt before. They are renewed.