UCLA Santa Monica earns 2nd Magnet Hospital designation for nursing excellence

Recognition keeps the hospital among an elite group of facilities across the nation.

UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center (SMUCLA) has been recognized a second time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program, achieving Magnet designation.

“I am so proud of our team for earning their second Magnet designation,” says David Bailey, PhD, RN, MBA, chief nursing officer at SMUCLA. “Magnet designation signifies that our hospital has again achieved the gold standard in professional nursing practice. Nurses who work in Magnet organizations serve as trendsetters and establish best-practice standards for other organizations to follow.”

Fewer than 10% of health care organizations out of nearly 6,200 nationwide are recognized as Magnet facilities.

Magnet designation is conferred every four years to health care organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing and patient care, as well as innovation in professional nursing practice. Applicants must reapply for Magnet designation through a rigorous process that includes providing documented evidence for patient care and outcomes, followed by an on-site evaluation.

Magnet is more than a nursing award, Bailey says. “Through interdisciplinary collaboration with our colleagues, our patients ultimately win as our outcomes outperform the national benchmarks in both nurse-sensitive indicators and patient satisfaction.”

Rather than maintaining status quo, organizations must continually outperform themselves along with the national mean to keep their Magnet designation, Bailey says. This means providing interim reports showing they continue to meet or exceed Magnet standards.

“You have to be working every day to make sure that your patient experience scores, your nurse satisfaction scores and your patient outcomes all continue to improve,” Bailey says. “It’s an evolving, organic process.”

SMUCLA is joined in Magnet designation by Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, with four designations, and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, with one designation.

“I’m so proud of the three organizations because they continue to raise the bar for our standard of care, which is already very high,” says Karen Grimley, PhD, RN, chief nursing executive for UCLA Health, interim chief nursing officer at RRUCLA and vice dean at the UCLA School of Nursing. “It means that nursing practice is exemplary across the system. A patient can come to any of these three organizations and expect to receive high-quality, customized care at UCLA Health, regardless of the location.”

For patients, receiving care at a Magnet organization means better outcomes, says Yesenia Valle, MSN, RN, nursing practice outcomes & Magnet coordinator at SMUCLA. Studies have shown there are fewer pressure injuries, fewer hospital-acquired infections and fewer falls in Magnet-designated hospitals. Patients also tend to have higher satisfaction levels than at non-Magnet hospitals, she says.

“It really shows that the nursing staff caring for you has exceeded the bar set by other Magnet hospitals across the nation,” Valle says. “Magnet hospitals also have higher nurse-satisfaction scores, which means they’re able to provide better care because they’re working in an environment that supports them and makes them feel their contributions are valued by the organization.

“Ultimately, the recognition is telling not only our internal staff but also our community that we are very proud to be able to serve the community and we don’t take it lightly,” Valle adds. “We know the work we’re doing is of high caliber, and we want to continue raising the bar.”

Valle says this latest designation is especially significant because the application and virtual appraisal process took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re all so proud of everything that our nurses do on a daily basis, and to finally see it come to fruition is really powerful, especially at this point in time.”

Grimley agrees. “I’m just wowed that we’ve been able to do this despite COVID-19, despite the resource challenges and all the other things that have come up across health care,” she says. “We’ve risen above it and made our mark as the people to follow.”

For more information, visit uclahealth.org/nursing

Jennifer Karmarkar is the author of this article.