Like the nurses and hospitals it serves, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is committed to ongoing improvement. Case in point: the latest Magnet Application Manual, which on August 1, 2014, officially replaced the 2008 edition.
The application manual’s makeover was the result of a concerted effort among a range of individuals with Magnet expertise.
“The entire Magnet community—from content experts, appraisers, chief nursing officers and Magnet program directors to Magnet Recognition Program staff and the Commission on Magnet Recognition—offered input and feedback. This broad mix of stakeholders and multistep review process ensured an evidence-based set of criteria that supports excellence in nursing practice and reflects the priorities of current and future healthcare environments,” wrote Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, executive director of ANCC in the October 13 issue of The Journal of Nursing Administration. “The process also included an extensive literature review, content factor analysis, and evidence-based review of the sources of evidence.”
The resulting manual and the Magnet applications it influences are now sleeker, sharper and more relevant than before. Here’s how.
From the 2008 to the 2014 version, the Magnet Application Manual dropped 39 sources of evidence. Down from 88 to 49, these sources of evidence are mandatory for all applicants. Moreover, the manual lost eight items in organizational overview. A few were shifted over to another section, but more on that in a bit.
The manual also issues a mandate for Magnet applications to slim down. The core document of a Magnet application may no longer exceed 350 pages (but this count doesn’t include the organization overview, evidence, professional nursing certification, nurse and patient satisfaction or nurse-sensitive clinical indicators). Furthermore, the latest manual limits the number of attachments and/or supporting evidence for each example within a source of evidence to five.
In reviewing the older version of the application manual, experts found that Magnet applications were repeating themselves, asking for information here and then asking for the same information again there. Manual reviewers looked hard at what the application was seeking and edited the manual to be clearer, more focused, and sharper. Sections were tightened and reshuffled. For example, the organizational overview relinquished unit-level nurse satisfaction, patient satisfaction and nurse-sensitive clinical indicators to the sources of evidence section. The manual also added standardized formats and templates for tables and graphs in order to streamline the empirical outcomes.
In keeping with the times, the latest application manual emphasizes outcomes. Sources of evidence are now 50% outcome-based and 50% structure and process based.
“This aligns with the National Committee for Quality Assurance accreditation focus on outcomes as well as critical priorities in today's complex healthcare environment,” ANCC explains. “This also enhances nursing leadership's ability to quantify the critical role nursing offers towards solutions that create value and strengthen the demonstration of nursing excellence.”
Outcomes provide a clear picture of the value of nursing care that hospitals can showcase in annual reports, regulatory compliance documents and even celebrations to promote nurses and their contributions to today’s healthcare environment.
In addition, requirements for nurse education, research and leadership support have been updated to align with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report.
Healthcare has undergone some pretty significant changes in the past few years. With some changes of its own, the latest Magnet application manual is now geared towards addressing the current environment with the relevance necessary to continue as the profession’s ultimate credential.
Is your facility ANCC Magnet-accredited? On the journey to Magnet? Tell us your thoughts about the new application process in the comments section below.