Baystate Again Named Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence

SPRINGFIELD — For the second time, Baystate Medical Center has been named a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing services, a distinction that places the hospital’s nursing staff among the finest in the nation.

The recognition, announced in the wake of an extensive application and review process and site visit by representatives of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, means the hospital has been continuously Magnet-certified since 2005. Baystate is one of only seven such hospitals in Massachusetts, and 18 in New England. Nationally, only about 6{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of all health care organizations carry Magnet designations, and only 2{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} have received consecutive designations like Baystate.

“Magnet designation is nursing’s top honor, accepted nationally as the gold standard in nursing excellence,” said Dr. Deborah Morsi, vice president of Patient Care Services for Baystate Medical Center and chief nursing officer for Baystate Health. “This is a tremendous affirmation of the talent, compassion, and dedication that our wonderful nurses bring to patients’ bedsides every day.”

The Magnet Recognition Program establishes standards of excellence that participating health care organizations must attain. Magnet designation helps consumers locate providers with a proven level of excellence in nursing care, and assists hospitals in attracting and retaining quality employees.

Why the term ‘Magnet’? In 1983, the American Academy of Nursing’s task force on nursing practice in hospitals conducted a study of U.S. hospitals. The research identified and described variables that created an environment that attracted and retained well-qualified nurses. These variables were called ‘forces of magnetism,’ and the institutions were called ‘magnets’ because they attracted and kept good nurses. The study found that quality patient care was provided through sustaining excellence in nursing services.

Eileen Grunwald, a nurse manager at Baystate and a leader of the hospital’s efforts to maintain its Magnet status, said the honor means much more than a plaque on a wall to the hospital’s nurses. “Magnet tells our nurses that, with the compassionate care they provide around the clock, every day, in Springfield, they are an example and an inspiration for many other nursing staffs across the country. And patients everywhere benefit from that inspiration.”

The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Assoc., to recognize health care organizations that provide the best in nursing care and uphold the tradition within nursing of professional practice.

Magnet status recognizes excellence in a variety of areas, including nursing management, philosophy and practices, adherence to standards for improving quality of patient care, leadership of the nurse administrator in supporting professional practice and continued competence of nursing personnel, and understanding and respecting the cultural and ethnic diversity of patients, their families, and significant others, as well as the care providers in the system.

Magnet-designated health care organizations consistently outperform their peers in recruiting and retaining nurses, resulting in increased stability in patient care systems across the organization. Also, research documents that high-quality nurses are one of the most important attributes in attracting high-quality physicians.

“The most important benchmark of our success as an organization is our patients’ health outcomes,” Morsi said. “Magnet considers it, and our nurses are a key part of it. For that, we’re very proud.”