Akron General earns Magnet recognition for nursing

By Cheryl Powell
Beacon Journal medical writer

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Beverly Bokovitz, senior vice president - chief nursing officer at the Akron General Medical Center. The nursing staff at AGMC has earned Magnet status as a top-ranked hospital nationwide for nursing. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

Akron General has been recognized as among the top facilities nationwide for nursing.

The hospital was notified on Tuesday that it has achieved “Magnet” nursing status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

“It’s really a recognition for the staff nurse,” said Beverly Bokovitz, Akron General’s senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “This is their hard work and dedication.”

The designation applies to Akron General Medical Center, the health system’s three Health & Wellness centers and Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, which employ about 1,000 nurses.

Akron General joins Akron Children’s Hospital and Summa Health System among about 7 percent of hospitals nationwide to achieve the honor.

To earn the recognition, hospitals must go through an extensive review to prove they meet national benchmarks for patient outcomes and satisfaction, as well as nursing practice, education and involvement in hospital decision-making.

Akron General submitted data to show it performs better than the national average for numerous quality indicators, including death rates, hospital-acquired infections, pressure sores and falls, Bokovitz said. The hospital also has a highly educated nursing staff, with 80 percent earning a bachelor’s degree, compared to about 35 percent at facilities nationwide.

“We had to be above average in almost all the areas,” Bokovitz said.

Several studies have shown Magnet hospitals score better for measures of quality and satisfaction in their nursing staff.

One recent study found patients at Magnet hospitals had a 14 percent lower chance of inpatient death. Another 2011 study by University of Pennsylvania researchers concluded Magnet hospital nurses were 18 percent less likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs and 13 percent less likely to report high levels of burnout.

Akron General worked for several years to earn the designation, which required electronic documentation equivalent to about 2,500 pages, said Shelly Huff, the hospital’s Magnet program director.

Surveyors from the American Nurses Credentialing Center spent several days at the hospital this year as part of the review process.

“We put patients at the center of everything we do, and that was evident at our site visit,” Huff said. “The nurses so deserve this.”

Akron General is among fewer than 400 organizations nationwide, including 24 in Ohio, with Magnet designation. Other hospitals in the Akron-Canton area to earn the recognition include Aultman Hospital in Canton and Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.

Cleveland’s three major hospital systems — the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center and University Hospitals Case Medical Center — also have achieved Magnet status.

The optional accreditation program grew out of a 1983 study by the American Academy of Nursing to identify characteristics of hospitals that attracted and retained good nurses who promoted quality patient care.

Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.

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