Lessons from America? US magnet hospitals and their implications for UK nursing

J Adv Nurs. 1994 Feb;19(2):373-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1994.tb01095.x.


This paper examines possible implications of the US 'magnet hospital' concept for the UK nursing labour market. Magnet hospitals have been researched in the US and have been demonstrated to exhibit lower nurse turnover and higher levels of reported job satisfaction than other hospitals. Key characteristics include a decentralized organizational structure, a commitment to flexible working hours, an emphasis on professional autonomy and development, and systematic communication between management and staff. The paper examines the labour market characteristics of UK nurses and US nurses and finds many similarities. Detailed case studies of employment practice in 10 US hospitals and 10 Scottish hospitals are reported, with specific attention to remuneration practice, methods of organizing nursing care, establishment-setting and flexible hours. The paper concludes that there are features of the magnet hospital concept which are of relevance and applicable to the UK nursing labour market, but that piecemeal importation of ideas is unlikely to be beneficial.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / supply & distribution*
  • Personnel Management / methods*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration
  • Personnel Turnover*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Sampling Studies
  • Scotland
  • Staff Development
  • United States