Although nurses recognize City of Hope as a great place to work, the institution’s nursing leadership team is committed to making it even better to keep attracting and retaining top nursing professionals, according to Larry Kidd, R.N., vice president of patient care services and chief nurse executive.
Among the efforts now under way to elevate City of Hope’s status in the nursing field is the pursuit of accreditation with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Nursing hospital. A small percentage of the country’s health-care facilities hold this prestigious designation, which recognizes the highest levels of excellence in patient care through nursing services.
Of the nearly 6,000 hospitals operating in the U.S., 205 currently hold Magnet designation. Only seven facilities in California are part of this elite group: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Children's Hospital Central California; El Camino Hospital; Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian; Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla; UCLA Medical Center; and the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.
“City of Hope is in the top tier of medical centers nationally, and obtaining Magnet hospital status with the ANCC lets both nursing professionals and the general public know this,” said Virginia A. Opipare, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This accreditation is a form of national recognition that we deserve, and we are committed to reaching this goal.”
The advantages of holding ANCC accreditation are numerous. “In addition to providing a statistically proven higher quality of care, Magnet-designated health-care facilities typically have very low vacancies for nurses and a turnover rate averaging less than 5 percent,” said Kidd. “Some even have a waiting list for potential hires,” and City of Hope’s turnover rate for nurses now stands at around 6 percent, he said.
Said Kidd: “On average, a departing nurse ends up costing a hospital nearly $45,000, so nurse retention can have a substantial impact on costs. Along with the reduced nursing labor costs, financial benefits add up in other areas. For example, one Veteran’s Administration hospital that invested $500,000 in ANCC accreditation documented savings of $14 million. Reductions in complaints and fewer lawsuits as a result of their improved patient outcomes were two of the major areas cited.”
The hospital’s bottom line is positively impacted regarding interactions with other organizations, too. “It has been reported that health-care plans, insurance companies and regulatory agencies have high regard for ANCC designation, so a hospital holding it may be viewed more favorably,” said Kidd.
In addition, quality of staff generally is elevated with accreditation. “The best nurses seek out Magnet hospitals that will embrace them by providing a work environment that is both supportive and exemplary,” Kidd said. Studies also show that having high-quality nurses on staff is an important attribute in attracting top-rated physicians. This “halo effect” has been shown to go beyond the nursing services department and may permeate the entire health-care team. Evidence of improved patient outcomes supports this conclusion, he said.
City of Hope is at the beginning stage of the ANCC accreditation process, in terms of preparation, according to Kidd. He added the process lasts about three years for the average organization.
In coming weeks, a “design team,” comprising nursing management and staff nurses who provide care at the bedside, assembles. Employees working in other health-care disciplines participate, as well. A Magnet coordinator, who prepares documentation, tracks progress and maintains contact with the ANCC while the organization prepares for the validation site visit, is then chosen to lead the design team.
Following the team’s formation, the accreditation application is filed. Next, the submission of documentation of evidence of standards begins, a phase that the institution has 24 months to complete.
After the necessary documentation is submitted and accepted, ANCC surveyors conduct a site visit of up to three days. Once their review is completed, the surveyors submit recommendations to the ANCC board of directors, who determine whether the institution will receive accreditation. Providing accreditation is granted, the facility submits annual reports documenting ongoing maintenance of the standards. Redesignation visits then take place every four years.
To assist other California health-care organizations in preparing for the process, staff members of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will host a Magnet hospital accreditation conference on their campus in West Hollywood on July 21. Several City of Hope employees are now scheduled to attend.
Look for further updates on nursing leadership’s efforts to attain ANCC accreditation at City of Hope in future issues of Hope News.