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In a First for Missouri or Kansas, Children's Mercy Honored Again with Magnet Recognition for Nursing Excellence

Children's Mercy is the only hospital in either state to receive the status for a fourth time

Magnet Call

In an unprecedented milestone for hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, Children’s Mercy has received Magnet recognition for the fourth time since 2003 as a reflection of its nursing professionalism, hospital-wide teamwork, innovation and outstanding patient care outcomes. Magnet recognition is determined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program, which ensures rigorous standards for nursing excellence are met.

“Being recognized as a Magnet facility for the fourth consecutive time is an amazing achievement for Children’s Mercy,” said Karen S. Cox, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Mercy and President-Elect of the American Academy of Nursing. “We had a good feeling that it might happen after The Magnet Appraisers’ Site Visit in February when they praised the hospital and our staff as among the best in the nation.”

Only 7 percent of U.S. hospitals earn the Magnet designation. Eight hospitals across Kansas and Missouri currently have it. Children’s Mercy is the only facility in either state to earn Magnet designation four times, having previously achieved it in 2003, 2007 and 2012. In 2003, Children’s Mercy became the first hospital in either state to gain Magnet recognition. Hospitals must reapply for Magnet recognition every four years.

To achieve initial Magnet recognition, organizations must pass a thorough and lengthy process that demands widespread participation from leadership and staff.

“Children’s Mercy has an amazing team of nurses,” said Cheri Hunt, MHA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Mercy.“I never take for granted how devoted they are to our patients. Earning Magnet designation is not easy, and it demonstrates that we’ve built a strong culture that allows our nurses to practice and grow professionally so they can meet and exceed Magnet standards day in and day out. This is pretty special.”

More than 2,800 pediatric trained nurses work at Children’s Mercy. More than 80 percent of Children’s Mercy nurses have at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. The hospital employs more than 300 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. An APRN is a nurse who has a master’s, post-masters or doctoral degree in a nursing specialty.

"Magnet is sometimes thought of as a ‘nursing award,’” President and CEO Rand O’Donnell, PhD, said in an email to employees following the Magnet appraisers’ site visit in February. "And while our nurses and their work are vital to our Magnet re-designation, the whole hospital and all its employees are a part of what makes us outstanding. As one nurse put it: ‘We are all in the same boat – the boat to provide the best care possible to children and their families.'"

Magnet recognition has become the gold standard for nursing excellence and is taken into consideration when referring physicians and families across the country evaluate health care organizations. In fact, U.S. News & World Report’s annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality of inpatient care.

The Magnet process begins with the submission of an electronic application, followed by written documentation demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding patient care and outcomes. If scores from the written documentation fall within a range of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly assess the applicant. After an onsite review process, the Commission on Magnet will review the completed appraisal report and vote to determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.

An organization seeking to reapply for Magnet recognition must provide documented evidence of how Magnet concepts, performance, and quality were sustained and improved over the four-year period since the hospital received its most recent recognition.