MUSC Health-Charleston achieves renewal of highest nursing excellence honor

May 04, 2020
In a photo from the days before social distancing, from left, nurses Alicia Amon and Heather Rodgers work with patient care technician Megan Barnes. Photo by Sarah Pack

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the MUSC Health-Charleston division nurses had to sit with three chairs between them in what would normally be an event marked by hugs and high fives. But that didn’t stop the celebration of their hard-won achievement: renewal of Magnet recognition, the highest honor for nursing excellence.

Chief nursing officer Patti Hart was thrilled to share the news. “There are statistics out there that only 8% of hospitals in the world are Magnet,” she said. “And the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which operates the Magnet program, says that little over half of them don’t obtain the redesignation.”

MUSC Health-Charleston first achieved Magnet recognition in 2015. Hospitals have to reapply every four years, which MUSC Health did in 2019. The good news about its success in earning Magnet renewal came this week.

“To have a Magnet designation, you have to have very good patient and staff outcomes. You place patients and families at the center of everything you do,” Hart said. “You drive toward evidence-based practices to create standard work throughout your system. You pay attention not just to high quality but also the experience that you’re providing for patients. That’s really the hallmark of the entire Magnet model.”

In addition to earning Magnet renewal, the MUSC Health-Charleston division nursing team was recognized by the ANCC for exemplary work in multiple areas. One standout was the nurses’ role in getting pet therapy dogs to work with children in the MUSC Health psychiatric unit.  

“We had really good outcomes from that,” Hart said, meaning children were calmer and better able to receive treatment.

The ANCC also cited, among other things: 

  • The nursing team’s success in advocating for changes in state law that expanded the scope of nursing.
  • The nurses’ skill at preventing body pressure injuries in bedridden patients.
  • The team’s excellent “door-to-balloon” time, referring to the speed with which the nurses get heart attack patients who come into the Emergency Department the life-saving treatment they need.

The Magnet renewal comes at a time when some MUSC Health nurses are elsewhere, helping places in need during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re in New York and Atlanta and around South Carolina. Hart said they all came together for the Magnet celebration virtually.

“It really does help morale. It has pulled us all together during such a challenging time. I was so grateful to the chief nursing officers of the other areas where we have nurses who allowed them to break away and watch our ceremony with us. It was really nice of all of them to do,” Hart said. “It’s a recognition of nursing excellence. That’s what the Magnet model is all about.”

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Helen Adams