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UK HealthCare regains prestigious Magnet Status for excellence in patient care

Less than 7% of healthcare organizations have achieved designation

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2016) — UK HealthCare has achieved Magnet Status — the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. Less than seven percent of the nearly 6,000 health care organizations in the U.S. have achieved Magnet designation. UK HealthCare has 4,473 nursing services employees, including 2,006 full-time registered nurses.

uk health“Magnet recognition is a mindset and an approach in patient-centered care,” said UK HealthCare chief nursing executive Colleen Swartz. “Our team has been extremely dedicated, focused and committed in achieving this goal and it shows in every interaction we have with patients and their families.”

Achieving Magnet Status is a process that culminates in a rigorous review to demonstrate the hospital’s commitment to sustaining nursing excellence and improving professional practice. The status represents a solid commitment to continuing education and nursing specialty certification, a cultural transformation of the work environment involving a shared governance model and laser focus on patient safety.

The process begins with the submission of an electronic application, followed by written documentation demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding patient care and outcomes. If scores from the written documentation fall within a range of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly assess the applicant. After this rigorous on-site review process, the commission on Magnet will review the completed appraisal report and vote to determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.

“Our nursing staff have worked very hard to achieve this important distinction and have been committed to this goal and truly deserve this Magnet recognition,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.

In 2001, UK HealthCare became just the 38th Magnet-recognized organization. The hospital maintained its designation until it was up for renewal in 2009, when the ANCC restructured the Magnet Recognition Program criteria. The fundamental shift from a process-structured infrastructure to an outcomes-based infrastructure led to UK HealthCare needing to make changes to regain its status.

“From a nursing practice perspective, we used the loss of Magnet as a call to action for us to really focus on quality outcomes, patient experience and staff experience,” Swartz said. “The end goal for us was superb clinical care; Magnet status is a byproduct of that goal and we should embrace it as such.”

From 2010 to 2013, UKHC began an improvement process that signified a cultural change toward patient- and family-centered care. That process included evaluating the nursing strategic plan, identifying areas in need of quality improvement, and developing strategies for improvement, measurement and accountability.

“While Magnet recognition is awarded by a nursing organization, it is truly an honor resulting from the leadership of our nurses to demonstrate that it is all of our caregivers who focus on meeting the needs of our patients, their families, and one another each and every day in our hospitals and clinics,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “Everyone at UK HealthCare is proud to be one of less than ten hospitals in Kentucky and one of less than 500 in the nation to have earned this distinction.”

Magnet recognition, which hospitals must reapply for every four years, has become the gold standard for nursing excellence. The recognition is based on adherence to Magnet concepts and demonstrated improvement in patient care and quality. U.S. News & World Report’annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality of inpatient care.