‘Nurse-friendly’ hospitals have better patient outcomes

(Nursing Times) A group of US hospitals that are certified as nurse friendly because of their work environment and staffing levels have better patient outcomes than other hospitals, according to researchers.

They compared staffing factors and patient outcomes at 56 so-called “Magnet” hospitals with 508 other hospitals across four US states.

The Magnet Recognition Program is a voluntarycertification programme overseen by the American Nurses Association. Its hospitals are recognised for their nursing excellence and practice innovation as well as for having higher levels of job satisfaction and less burnout. 

The researchers found the Magnet hospitals had slightly higher nurse-to-patient ratios and used fewer temporary staff. They were also rated as having significantly better work environments and had more nurses with degreesand more with specialisms.

Analysis of more than 600,000 surgical patients revealed that mortality rates were 20% lower at Magnet hospitals and they also had better performance on “failure to rescue”.

Of the surgical patients in Magnet hospitals, 1.5% died within 30 days compared with 1.8% in non-Magnet hospitals. In addition, 3.8% of the surgical patients with complications died in Magnet hospitals compared with 4.6% in other hospitals.

“Surgical patients cared for in Magnet hospitals have significantly lower odds of mortality and failure-to-rescue than those cared for in non-Magnet facilities,” the authors stated in the journal Medical Care.

They said the better outcomes in Magent hospitals were “largely attributable to measured nursing characteristics”.

Study lead author Matthew McHugh, from the University of Pennsylvania’s school of nursing, added:  “Magnet hospitals have lower mortality because of investments in nursing.”

Magnet hospitals – of which there are nearly 400 – make up around 8% of hospitals in the US.