Southern New Hampshire Medical Center is committed to providing the highest level of care for our patients and giving our nurses the opportunity to take the reins and be part of the decision-making processes throughout the Medical Center to drive positive change.

In mid-April, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center will be surveyed, virtually, for its fourth Magnet re-designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Magnet Recognition Program is the highest honor a hospital can receive in nursing.

“Magnet designation is every four years. Our first designation was in 2006 and this will be our fourth designation. We are longest Magnet designated medical center in New Hampshire. Generally, there are only about 8 to 10% of hospitals in the country that are Magnet designated so this is an extraordinary opportunity for us,” Ann McLaughlin, RN, MBA, BSN, NE-BC, Director of Magnet, Nursing Quality, and Professional Practice at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, explains.

Magnet organizations must show that their nursing outcomes are better than national benchmarks in many areas, and they must also exceed national benchmarks for patient and family satisfaction, as well as nurse satisfaction.

“This recognition really supports excellence in all phases of patient care. There are four components in Magnet—transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, and new knowledge, innovations, and improvements,” McLaughlin says.

To apply for Magnet designation, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center had to write to each of the over 80 standards outlined by ANCC. Those stories must include data indicators and patient satisfaction information, as well as demonstrate how staff have been involved in nursing research and introducing innovative practices to improve care.

Once the documentation is submitted, three Magnet appraisers review the documents to make sure the Medical Center has met the standards. Typically, three surveyors come to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center to verify everything in the documents. But, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the survey will be done virtually.

“This year, the three surveyors will travel virtually to all units providing nursing care and will have virtual meetings with the clinical nurses. They randomly select how and when they meet with each nurse. It’s been challenging to maintain all the standards during the COVID-19 pandemic, but I would say this is a time for our nurses to celebrate all the hard work they have done to sustain a culture of excellence over the past four years. They have been resilient and it’s a huge accomplishment,” McLaughlin says.

During the site visit, the appraisers may share some of their experiences related to national best practices as learning opportunities for our staff. McLaughlin says as soon as Southern New Hampshire Medical Center is re-designated, work begins for the next application cycle. “Magnet is a culture. You’re constantly improving. You don’t stop once you get a Magnet designation. It encourages us to continue to speak up, innovate, and raise the bar.”

The virtual survey will be held April 14 through 16. There is an open public forum to meet with appraisers during the site visit on Friday, April 16, from 8:45 to 9:25 am in Conference Room ABCD in the Health and Education Building at 10 Prospect Street.