The magnet hospital approach

International best practices to improve the attractiveness and hospital staff retention

The concept of a magnet hospital, which emerged in the United States in the early 2000s, characterizes "hospitals that attract and retain qualified nurses by providing a positive work environment that promotes high job satisfaction and excellent patient care" (Schmalenberg and Kramer, 2008). This framework was developed by the American Academy of Nursing in 1983, in the context of a severe nursing shortage. A task force was charged with analyzing nursing practice in hospitals, conducting a study to identify work environments that attracted and retained qualified nurses and promoted quality patient and resident care. 

Based on the characteristics of the most attractive and successful hospitals in retaining nurses, the National Association of American Nurses (NAAN) established the 14 "forces of magnetism" that are the foundation of the original Magnet model. The strength of this model is that it emphasizes the strategic dimension of quality of work life (meaning at work, autonomy within the multidisciplinary team, respect for one's own duties), moving away from a focus on working conditions in the material sense. Beyond the Magnet model, the attractiveness of hospitals described as magnetic is based on a real institutional culture.


  • Discover the "Magnet Hospital" model with the bearers of the certification, the American Nurses Association, and the impacts of this model on the quality of work life, the patient experience and the quality of care.

  • Identify the place of magnet certification in the strategy for attracting and retaining hospital staff by discovering the experience of the Cleveland University Hospital

  • Text length of individual points can be shorter or longer depending on your needs

Program Outline

1. American case study --- University Hospital Cleveland: the links between the patient experience and the Magnet model

Experts: Jennifer Gonzalez, Magnet Program Director

University Hospital Cleveland has been accredited as a "Magnet Hospital" by the American Nurses Association since 2006. The Magnet labeling program recognizes exemplary health care facilities for quality patient care, professional nursing advancement and innovation. Magnet status is the gold standard for nursing in the United States and validates that the hospital group's nurses are well-trained and involved in hospital operations. 

At Cleveland UHC, frontline nurses care for patients of all ages - from newborns to the elderly - combining compassion, advanced knowledge, technical skills and professional integrity. As the healthcare system has evolved, the role of the nurse has also changed. Today's nurses are essential partners in interdisciplinary teams. They are present at the bedside and help develop and implement complex care plans for their patients. They are key players in the process of improving the patient experience. 


Belgian case study --- the certification process of the University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA) and the assessment of a magnet hospital

Expert: Danny Van Heusden, Director of the Magnet Program at UZA

In November 2017, the University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA) became the first hospital in Europe to achieve Magnet® recognition. Magnet is the highest form of recognition for nursing care in the world. To achieve it, a hospital must strive for demonstrable and continuous improvement in patient outcomes - measured by criteria such as pressure ulcers and fall prevention - new knowledge and innovations, and excellent professional practices. "Magnet is a mindset: we constantly strive to help our nurses become strong, empowered caregivers who contribute to our culture of continuous improvement and innovate within a flat organizational structure. We need to enable them to work on the basis of evidence and in accordance with the latest international science. The Magnet program provides an organization and its providers with a rigorous framework for improving care processes, job satisfaction and patient outcomes," said Johnny Van der Straeten, UZA's chief executive officer.