Magnet facility enjoys low turnover, few open positions

In this age of a nursing shortage, the same-day surgery program and other departments at Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, NC, enjoy the enviable reputation as a place that nurses want to work.

After achieving certification in the Magnet Recognition Program administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Washington, DC, the facility looked for ways to use the recognition to enhance their nurse recruitment efforts.

"Whenever we get an application for employment, a representative from our organizational learning department calls the applicant and explains what magnet status means to nurses," says Miriam Jolly, RN, BSN, CPAN, PACU and day surgery coordinator at Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, NC. "Even if we don’t have the exact position for which the nurse was applying, we can explain what other positions are available."

The explanation of magnet status and the positive nursing environment that must exist to achieve magnet status often make nurses willing to accept another positions because they know they’ll get a chance to work for a facility that values its nurses, she explains.

In addition to attracting good nurses, magnet status has affected the same-day surgery program’s and the overall hospital’s retention rate, says Jolly. The facility had always enjoyed a low turnover rate, but now the rate has dropped even lower: less than 2%, she says.

The best news is that 93% of the new graduate nurses that the same-day surgery program hires are still employed by Catawba two years after their hire date, she says. "This is important because new nurses typically jump to other jobs if there is a signing bonus or any type of increase in pay," she says. "We don’t want to lose them after we’ve spent time and money training them, so keeping 93% of them is an important success," she adds.

Another statistic that demonstrates the importance of the "magnet approach" to nursing is the fact that 53% of nurses who do leave Catawba for other employers return within one year, says Jolly. "We don’t offer signing bonuses but we are essentially fully staffed, with waiting lists for some departments," she says.