Background: Research has documented an association between Magnet hospitals and better outcomes for nurses and patients. However, little longitudinal evidence exists to support a causal link between Magnet recognition and outcomes.
Objective: To compare changes over time in surgical patient outcomes, nurse-reported quality, and nurse outcomes in a sample of hospitals that attained Magnet recognition between 1999 and 2007 with hospitals that remained non-Magnet.
Research design: Retrospective, 2-stage panel design using 4 secondary data sources.
Subjects: One hundred thirty-six Pennsylvania hospitals (11 emerging Magnets and 125 non-Magnets).
Measures: American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet recognition; risk-adjusted rates of surgical 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue, nurse-reported quality measures, and nurse outcomes; the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index.
Methods: Fixed-effects difference models were used to compare changes in outcomes between emerging Magnet hospitals and hospitals that remained non-Magnet.
Results: Emerging Magnet hospitals demonstrated markedly greater improvements in their work environments than other hospitals. On average, the changes in 30-day surgical mortality and failure-to-rescue rates over the study period were more pronounced in emerging Magnet hospitals than in non-Magnet hospitals, by 2.4 fewer deaths per 1000 patients (P<0.01) and 6.1 fewer deaths per 1000 patients (P=0.02), respectively. Similar differences in the changes for emerging Magnet hospitals and non-Magnet hospitals were observed in nurse-reported quality of care and nurse outcomes.
Conclusions: In general, Magnet recognition is associated with significant improvements over time in the quality of the work environment, and in patient and nurse outcomes that exceed those of non-Magnet hospitals.