Magnet hospitals are named for their potential to attract and retain qualified nurses. Magnet hospitals are facilities that have been certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for promoting positive patient outcomes through best practices in nursing (Upenieks, 2003). The Magnet environment fosters autonomy and professional nursing practice. Research shows that Magnet hospitals have better work environments, a more highly educated nursing workforce, superior nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, and higher nurse satisfaction than non-Magnet hospitals (Aiken, Kelly, & McHugh, 2011). Implementation of that environment requires the ability to create trust, accountability, and open communication in changing times. The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) organized 14 Forces of Magnetism into 5 Model Components to measure outcomes for the Magnet Recognition program. The first of the five components, Transformational Leadership, encompasses two of the 14 Forces of Magnetism: Quality of Nursing Leadership and Management Style (American Nurses Credentialing Center). The leadership approach best suited for the pursuance of Magnet recognition would be a transformational leadership approach. Nurse executives in a Magnet institution require the ability to foresee the future needs of healthcare, and must devise plans of action to meet those needs. They must communicate, monitor, engage, and inspire others toward the common goal. Management, likewise, has to communicate ideas and monitor progress, but must also be prepared to organize the undertaking and implementation of future pathways.
Transformational Leadership and the Nurse Executive
The most frequent and beneficial leadership type employed by magnet facilities is transformational leadership (Aiken, 2011). This leadership theory encourages participatory management, nurse empowerment, willingness to embrace change, and new ideas (Huber, 2010). Leadership traits associated with nurse executives are honesty, credibility, supportiveness, visibility, and flexibility. Nurse executives analyze nursing functions and empower nurses through participatory decision making, shared governance, and employee involvement. Nurse executives share the vision and goals of the hospital and promote application of a nursing theory into the nursing care delivery system. They anticipate the future of health care and nursing and serve as monitor, role model, and preceptor to lower level management (Upeniecks, 2003). Nurse executives in the Magnet program are required to have advance practice degrees with certification in their specialty (ANCC). Understanding evidence-based management and enabling the use of evidence-based knowledge provides the nurse executive with the tools to improve patient outcomes. The transformational leader will remove barriers to improvement and encourage outcome based thinking. While nurse leaders are charged with questioning the status quo, nurse...