Magnet Hospitals, Explained

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Magnet hospitals are institutions that stand apart due to their educational requirements, work environments and patient outcomes. Learn more about how magnet hospitals work, and how a BSN degree from an institution like Mercer University can help you work in one.

nurse in gray scrubs smiling at camera

Considering a career in nursing means pursuing a field that is instrumental in helping and healing others. When deciding what you want in a future nursing career, it is important to consider that some employers can influence your career environment and trajectory. This is why Magnet hospitals are so important to nurses; they are organizations recognized for their quality and are associated with multiple benefits on the nursing and patient sides alike.

So what is a Magnet hospital, what does working at a Magnet hospital mean for your career, and how can you earn a position working in one? Earning a BSN like the one offered through Mercer University’s Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track is a great start. To learn more about Magnet hospitals and how you can qualify to work in one, read on as we dive into these organizations.

What is a Magnet Hospital?

At a fundamental level, a Magnet hospital is recognized for meeting a series of standards in patient care and adhering to requirements surrounding the educational level of nurses and administrators. These organizations are associated with several benefits for both patients and staff, and openings are often highly sought-after positions. The American Nurses Association created the Magnet designation in 1990, naming it Magnet because organizations that meet the specified standards display a greater capacity to attract and retain nurses.

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Considering a nursing education? Learn more about an ABSN track and if one is right for you.

How Do Magnet Hospitals Differ From Other Hospitals?

One of the main differences between Magnet hospitals and other hospitals is how educational requirements affect hiring criteria and leadership position selection. There are also positive differences in patient outcomes and working environment, making these organizations competitive in the nursing job market. Below, we will explore more about what specifically sets Magnet hospitals apart.

Education Requirements

One of the most significant differences in hiring practices between Magnet hospitals and non-Magnet hospitals is educational requirements. Magnet hospitals require all nurses to have earned a BSN or higher degree. While regulations fluctuate, many states allow individuals to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Magnet hospitals require that nurses have a bachelor’s degree as one of the many measures to improve hospital outcomes.

Student applying online


Beyond the nurses who carry out many tasks in day-to-day patient care, Magnet hospitals require a certain level of higher education for nurse leaders. Nurse leaders and managers, who coordinate nursing efforts and report to the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), must also hold a bachelor’s degree to enter their roles. According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Chief Nursing Officers, who lead nursing efforts and coordinate at an executive level, are required to hold a master's degree at the time of application. If the master's degree is not in nursing, then a baccalaureate or a doctoral degree must be in nursing.

Patient Outcomes

When an organization like a Magnet hospital creates a highly professional nursing environment through educational and other requirements, positive patient outcomes are a welcome result. Studies covering Magnet organizations have found multiple factors that point to positive patient outcomes, including:

  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • Decreased mortality rate
  • Decreased pressure ulcers
  • Decreased falls
  • Improved patient safety and quality

Career Satisfaction

The quality of care and the working conditions found within Magnet hospitals can be attributed to nurses experiencing increased career satisfaction, lower vacancy and turnover rates, increased retention, and lower rates of burnout.

What Do I Need to Do to Work at a Magnet Hospital?

With many potential benefits to working at a Magnet hospital, many current and prospective nurses may want to tailor their education and resume to position themselves as strong candidates for these institutions. Mercer University offers a comprehensive bachelor’s level nursing education in an accelerated timeline in Atlanta, Georgia. Earning your BSN can be the foundation to pursuing a career as a nurse in a Magnet hospital.

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Earn a BSN

The first step toward becoming a licensed nurse and pursuing a position at a Magnet hospital is to earn a BSN or higher degree. Mercer University’s Second Degree ABSN track in Atlanta allows students to complete a BSN nursing curriculum on an accelerated timeline. Mercer ABSN students who complete online-based coursework, in-person skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area can earn a BSN in as few as 12 months.

After graduating with a BSN, the last step before becoming a licensed, practicing nurse is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®). The knowledge and experience you gain as a Mercer student will help prepare you for this test. That experience, in addition to carefully studying, can help prepare you to succeed.

Showcase Nursing Skills

students assessing patient in hospital

Magnet hospitals hire nurses who have earned a BSN or higher degree and have obtained licensure. Demonstrating strong nursing skills will be another factor that can position you as a strong candidate for Magnet hospital positions. This is where your resume and references come in.

Many nurses initially begin their career at non-Magnet institutions, where they gain work experience and continue to develop their skills, confidence, and insight. For those who wish to apply to a Magnet hospital immediately after gaining licensure, the connections and experience you gain through clinical rotations in Mercer’s ABSN track can be key.

During clinical rotations, you will work under the guidance of experienced professionals and preceptors at top area healthcare facilities. Some of the organizations you work within could be Magnet hospitals. Making a good impression on the individuals you work with through your dedication and demonstrated skills can help you form valuable connections and gain important references.

Interested in Taking on a Nursing Career at a Magnet Hospital?

If you are interested in becoming a nurse and pursuing a career in a Magnet hospital or other settings, Mercer University offers a fastest path to the nursing field. Connect with an enrollment counselor today to learn more about Mercer’s ABSN track and how you can begin pursuing this exciting career!