From left: A young patient at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is cared for by Regina Harvey and Erica Santiago.

From left: A young patient at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is cared for by Regina Harvey and Erica Santiago.

High-quality care encompasses a broad range of priorities: meeting and exceeding clinical standards, maintaining excellence, providing an exceptional patient experience and helping achieve better outcomes. To reaffirm the Brigham’s commitment to these areas, BWH is seeking Magnet designation, which honors an institution for quality patient care, clinical excellence and interprofessional collaboration.

“Magnet designation has become a trusted symbol of excellence in patient care nationally and internationally,” said Betsy Nabel, MD, president of Brigham Health. “It’s meaningful to patients and family members who are deciding where to receive care, as well as to prospective employees who are looking for a hospital that stands out among its peers.”

While the Magnet Recognition Program’s roots are in nursing – the program is run by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) – it honors the work and culture of an entire institution. BWH’s next step in the process occurs April 1, when a team from Nursing and Patient Care Services will submit an application package consisting of 75 examples that illustrate how the hospital meets or exceeds each of the 49 standards in the Magnet model.

Examples of the evidence BWH is submitting include the development and implementation of a falls prevention toolkit, a program at the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center designed to educate patients about diabetes self-management and improve health outcomes, and “Goals for the Day, Goals for the Stay” cards used on Tower 14 ABCD to document the patient’s goals and ensure all staff are aware of them.

“The evidence for Magnet has become increasingly powerful. The quality of patient care, nursing excellence, innovations in professional practice and interprofessional collaboration are all much stronger in Magnet-designated hospitals,” said Mary Lou Etheredge, MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, executive director of Nursing Practice Development, interim associate chief nurse for medical nursing and BWH co-program director for Magnet.

Only 8 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are Magnet-designated, with three in Boston (Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital). The Joint Commission considers Magnet as a way to provide consumers with benchmarks to measure quality of care, and U.S. News & World Report uses the designation as a primary competence indicator to rank the best medical centers.

“We’re excited about continuing the journey toward obtaining Magnet designation, as it will help us demonstrate and confirm what we know to be true here at BWH: that our care and quality are unsurpassed,” said Chief Quality Officer Allen Kachalia, MD, JD.

At the core of the Magnet model is a focus on outcomes: evidence illustrating the impact of structures and processes on patients, families, staff, the organization and the community.

“It’s not just that you have good structures and systems in place, but that you also have the outcomes to prove that you have a low fall rate or that you have a low rate of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, for example,” said Rosemary O’Malley, MSN, MBA, RN, associate chief nurse for the Emergency Department, Neurosciences, Orthopaedics, Gynecology, Central Resources and Strategic Practice Initiatives, and BWH co-program director for Magnet.

Following submission of the evidence this spring, BWH will be notified three to six months after acceptance whether the hospital has been selected for a site visit. If selected, BWH will receive dates for a site visit. During the visit, appraisers from the ANCC will speak with employees, patients and families about the quality of care provided at the Brigham. One to two months after the site visit, the ANCC Commission on Magnet will decide whether BWH has achieved Magnet designation.

StrategyIcon_WordpressBrigham Health’s Strategy in Action: Highest-Quality, Safe Care
Learn more about our strategic priorities at