M. D. Anderson Nursing Program Receives International Recognition
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has joined an elite group of fewer than 45 hospitals in the world, receiving the highest honor in health care for nursing services.
"We already believe we are part of the best nursing in the world," said Dr. John Crossley, vice president for operations and nursing practice and head of the Division of Nursing. "Successfully completing the Magnet recognition process now allows our nurses to receive the international recognition they truly deserve."
Earning formal recognition for a program which patients, family members and employees already appreciate and respect was a major goal when M. D. Anderson nurses hosted appraisers from the ANCC in October. Also, with a national nursing shortage looming, the Magnet recognition is expected to boost the institution's efforts to attract and retain nurses.
Despite a staff of approximately 1,600 registered nurses, several hundred additional nurses will be needed over the next few years as M. D. Anderson anticipates accepting an increasing number of patients to meet soaring demands for research-based cancer care services.
"Not only are we recruiting new nurses more aggressively, but we also are doing more to retain our existing staff by expanding the professional development opportunities and providing other important incentives, including great salary and benefits packages," said Dr. Crossley, who is a registered nurse.
Initiatives to attract and retain nurses include five professional practice governance councils, staffed primarily with frontline nurses, which define and maintain nursing practice standards and a structured professional development program. There is also a mentoring program for newly hired patient care nurses.
M. D. Anderson's 1,600 registered nurses comprise almost 15 percent of the institution's total workforce. Approximately 10 percent of them are male. About 225 licensed vocational nurses and hospital aides also assist professional nurses across the patient care spectrum.
The ANCC Magnet program began in the early 1980s following a study that revealed 14 characteristics of hospitals that successfully attracted and retained nurses. Successful nursing services became known as Magnet hospitals. The study was repeated in 1986, 1989, 1991 and 2000. The distinguishing organizational features endured.
The October site visit was one of several Magnet-related activities over the past year. M. D. Anderson joined the bench-marking National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators in November 2000 and submitted its Magnet application the following month. The Magnet team prepared more than 2,000 pages of documentation for the project.
"The participation of all our nursing staff was integral to demonstrating nursing service excellence throughout M. D. Anderson. The appraisers were highly complimentary of our achievements and we were extremely proud of everyone's contributions," Dr. Crossley said.
Magnet status requires ongoing monitoring of standards and is valid for four years, after which recipients must reapply.
For more information on nursing at M. D. Anderson, see our department of nursing website.