Magnet Recognition

Your Health Matters

Last month, Meritus Medical Center became the only Magnet® hospital in western Maryland. According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center or ANCC, Magnet Recognition® establishes Meritus Medical Center as an organization that embraces high standards of patient care and a commitment to nurture the talents of dedicated nurses throughout their careers with continuing education and development.

A high honor

Melanie Heuston, D.N.P., RN, NEA-BC, vice president and chief nursing officer at Meritus Health, explains that “receiving this recognition is the culmination of years of hard work toward improving patient care.”

“Magnet® status is professional nursing’s highest honor and recognizes the outstanding commitment that the staff at Meritus has achieved,” she says. “Only 8 percent of hospitals nationwide have earned the Magnet® designation.”

Above and beyond

Meritus Medical Center achieved two “exemplars” alongside Magnet® status.

“Not only did we meet standards, but we achieved exemplars for a violence prevention program and for the screening of stroke patients,” says Heuston.

Exemplars are determined by the Commission on Magnet Recognition® and represent a best practice among Magnet® hospitals.

“For a hospital to receive two exemplars in conjunction with our first Magnet® designation is a testament to the dedication of Meritus staff to patient care,” says Heuston.

The journey

Meritus Medical Center has been on the journey toward Magnet® recognition for years and significant amounts of data have been used to identify areas of improvement, highlight successful outcomes and assess the success of change. In order to be considered, the nursing leadership team submitted a nearly 600-page document on patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, nurse satisfaction, work environment and community partnerships.

“Although it measures nursing outcomes, we are recognizing the combined efforts of everyone in our organization,” says Heuston.

What this means

In just the short time since Meritus Medical Center received Magnet® designation, there has already been an increase in nursing applicants.

“I’ve noticed the nurses walk a little taller, now that we belong to this exclusive club,” says Heuston. “It helps nurses explain their value to others, since we are in the same league as Hopkins and other well-known hospitals - all held to the same standards.”

Next steps

Magnet® recognition is a huge achievement for Meritus Medical Center, but since organizations only keep the designation for four years at a time, leaders must reapply.

“We are already beginning the work to reapply in 2023,” says Heuston. “Each time, the process is more rigorous, as your organization matures and expectations increase.”

With the prestigious designation, Meritus Medical Center’s staff and leadership know it’s even more important to continually strive to improve the quality of care, the nursing environment and patient satisfaction.

“This certainly doesn’t mean we are perfect, as we are always striving to be better,” says Heuston.