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Vanderbilt University Medical Center awarded federal funds to work toward earning magnet award for nursing care

Oct. 23, 2003, 5:55 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been awarded a federal grant for nearly $1 million to address nurse recruitment and retention and its impact on the quality of care.

The grant will help VUMC move towards accreditation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center by 2005 and obtain Magnet status, the gold standard by which nursing and patient care is measured in the United States. The Magnet application covers nearly 100 criteria points, with an on-site inspection of all areas of operation.

Hospitals recognized with a Magnet award tend to attract and retain the most elite and well-rounded nurses and other healthcare providers, and typically have better staffing ratios and leadership structures than other healthcare providers. Retaining experienced and highly skilled nursing staff has been shown to be directly linked with positive patent outcomes, which explains why previous research has shown hospitals with Magnet status report lower mortality rates, a shorter length of stay, and fewer falls.

Nancy Wells, D.N.Sc., Research Associate Professor of Nursing; Director of VUMC Nursing Research and the Principal Investigator on the grant, said the funding will allow VUMC to begin the work that is needed to make sure the application process is successful. "This grant will pay for every unit’s board leader in the Medical Center to go through facilitation training. This training supports our model called ‘shared governance,’ which provides the structure for and outlines the process of shared decision making at the point of service. It helps nurses to have control over nursing practice decisions and opens the door for better communication and collaboration," said Wells. The shared governance model will demonstrate VUMC’s performance of the standards of care outlined by the Magnet Recognition Program.

The grant will cover five years of work involved with applying for and earning Magnet status. Wells says the major work will be completed within the first three years, and the last two will be spent monitoring and evaluating the impact of the grant. The current plan is to implement shared governance by June of 2004, the application for Magnet status will be submitted in December of 2005, and a site visit should be conducted in the spring of 2006.

Media contact: Heather Hall, (615)-322-3894, Pager: (615) 363-6451

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