1. Lal, M. Maureen DNP, MSN, RN


ABSTRACT: Organizations on the journey to Magnet(R) excellence have questions. In many cases, those questions are based on myth, not fact. In this month's Magnet Perspectives, we break down the most commonly asked questions, dispel the myths, and explore the resources available to help organizations get the answers they need to achieve Magnet(R) recognition.


Article Content

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Program Office receives many questions from organizations seeking Magnet(R) designation and redesignation. Often, the questions are based on myths that surround the Magnet application process. Below, we dispel 3 of the most common myths with facts about the program.

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Myth 1: Magnet Requires Organizations to Hire Only BSNs


There is no requirement for organizations to exclusively hire nurses with baccalaureate degrees. SE7 asks for an organization's "action plan" for RNs' progress toward obtaining a BSN or higher degree.1 The intent is to identify how organizations are moving their nursing workforce toward meeting the BSN levels endorsed by the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in its landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.2 The report recommended that the number of BSN-prepared nurses should increase to 80% by 2020. SE8EO requires data to demonstrate the organization has met their goal. We recommend that organizations use a SMART approach3 to reach this goal. The organization should determine, based on their current BSN percentage, what is a "Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Relevant goal within the Timeline." Make sure the goal is well defined, develop criteria to measure progress, ensure there are adequate resources, and set a deadline. When presenting the data, calculate the percentage of RNs with a baccalaureate degree or higher; the denominator is the total number of RNs.


Myth 2: Magnet Requires All Nurse Leaders to be Certified


As with BSN levels, there is no requirement that any group within an organization (eg, nurse leaders or others) be certified. As delineated in SE3, organizations must show how they are supporting their nurses to achieve board certification.4 Each organization calculates its baseline, the resources it has in place, and how it will meet the goal of an increase in the percentage of certified nurses. SE4EO demonstrates the organization has met their goal. As Magnet continues to evolve and "raise the bar" for nursing excellence, the inclusion process for certification was reevaluated. To ensure equity in the qualifications of criteria in the constitution of accepting a certification, beginning January 1, 2024, ANCC Magnet will limit inclusion only to board certifications that are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification, the National Commission Certifying Agencies, or another recognized accreditor.


Myth 3: Magnet Has a Prescribed Staffing Model/Nurse Ratio


Magnet does not dictate the nursing care delivery model used by the organization. There are several staffing models in place in Magnet-recognized facilities. Nurses are expected to be involved in the staffing and scheduling; the model should be based on established guidelines. Having the correct staffing model, one in which nurses can participate, leads to positive outcomes.


The Donabedian5 model can help an organization determine whether the appropriate structures are in place to produce positive outcomes, including nurse engagement, patient satisfaction, and patient experience.


Fact-Finding Resources

When it comes to the Magnet journey, the best way to determine the facts is to take advantage of the many resources available from ANCC. Start with the Magnet Manual, which is the ultimate "source of truth." Use the glossary and appendices, both of which have been updated and expanded in the 2023 edition.


Furthermore, read the Analysts Tips, designed specifically to help organizations better understand the requirements. Remember that the manual is not prescriptive but provides a framework to build on. It is up to each organization to decide the best way to operationalize the Sources of Evidence.


Online, the Magnet Learning Communities(R) offer a host of resources. This exclusive, interactive site is a place to connect and share best practices, research, innovations, and strategies. It includes a webinar archive, a marketing toolkit, and more. In addition, ANCC's website ( features a Magnet FAQ page, where answers are posted to the most-asked questions.


One of the most valuable resources is the Magnet Program Office team. Speak with program specialists and senior analysts to get answers to questions and dispel misconceptions. Analysts are assigned by region, and their contact information can be found at




1. 2023 Magnet Application Manual(R). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center:44. [Context Link]


2. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US); 2011. [Context Link]


3. Indeed for Employers. Accessed October 16, 2021 [Context Link]


4. 2023 Magnet Application Manual(R). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center:39. [Context Link]


5. Donabedian A. Evaluating the quality of medical care. Milbank Q. 2005;83(4):691-729. [Context Link]