EU funds €4 million programme for hospitals to achieve Magnet status

US management model would include nurses in decision making, improve nurse to patient ratios and focus on interdisciplinary relationships

US management model would include nurses in decision making, improve nurse to patient ratios and focus on interdisciplinary relationships

Magnet hospitals could improve recruitment and retention of nurses Picture: Alamy

A dozen hospitals in England will take part in a €4 million (£3.6 million) EU initiative to reach the highly admired Magnet hospital status.

The Magnet programme is credited with increased recruitment and retention of registered nurses across the globe.

Among the main features of Magnet hospitals for nurses are their inclusion in decision making processes, higher nurse to patient ratios and a focus on interdisciplinary relationships.

Developing Magnet hospitals in Europe

First developed in the United States in 1990, the programme was created to recognise health care organisations providing excellent nursing care.

Now, €4 million of funding from the EU Commission has been given to nurse researchers to develop Magnet in Europe over the next four years.

A randomised trial in January 2020 will involve 60 hospitals in the following countries:

  • England
  • Ireland
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Sweden

Selected hospitals will be matched and twinned with an established Magnet hospital, which will support its EU counterpart to work towards accreditation.

Involving the nurse workforce in finding solutions

University of Pennsylvania professor of nursing Linda Aiken, who is leading the project, said research teams in the chosen countries would measure the success of the project and aim for trusts to achieve Magnet status in two to three years.

'We know this evidence-based idea [the Magnet programme] works,’ she said.

'First of all the recruitment and retention of nurses dramatically improves. This will be important in England where you are having big problems [with workforce].

'Some Magnet hospitals in the US have nurses on waiting lists because they want to work there.'

Dr Aiken says staff nurses at the chosen hospitals will be directly involved in the process of becoming Magnet-accredited because an integral part of the programme is 'flattening' management and involving the nursing workforce in finding solutions for problems.

The team in England will be led by researchers Peter Griffiths, Jane Ball and Jackie Bridges at the University of Southampton.

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