More than 150 Keck Medicine of USC nurses, executives, physicians and employees gathered in a conference room at Keck Medical Center of USC shortly before 8 a.m. on July 18, awaiting a phone call they’ve worked toward for several years.

The crowd erupted in cheers, tears and applause as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) announced over speakerphone that Keck Hospital of USC has joined a select group of health care facilities in achieving Magnet recognition, one of the highest honors in nursing excellence. The ANCC Commission on Magnet Recognition voted unanimously on the designation. It is the first time the 401-bed acute care hospital has received the prestigious distinction, which recognizes organizations where nursing strategic goals are aligned to improve patient outcomes. There are approximately 470 Magnet facilities worldwide and more than 30 in California.

“This highly regarded credential is a reflection of our nurses’ ceaseless dedication to providing patient-centered care and maintaining the highest standards of professional practice,” says Annette Sy, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer at Keck Medical Center of USC. “Our Magnet journey, which began seven years ago, was a rigorous and rewarding process that engaged the entire Keck Hospital of USC community.”

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In order to earn Magnet recognition, organizations must provide ANCC both qualitative and quantitative evidence on patient care and outcomes. ANCC also conducts a site visit to determine whether a facility meets the criteria for Magnet status. Research has shown that Magnet recognition is associated with positive outcomes such as higher patient satisfaction, lower risk of 30-day mortality and higher job satisfaction among nurses.

“Achieving Magnet status is an important milestone for Keck Hospital of USC and distinguishes Keck Medicine of USC as a leading academic medical center where patients receive exceptional care,” says Rodney B. Hanners, chief executive officer of Keck Medical Center of USC.

Rosalyn Phan, MSN, RN, nursing director at Keck Hospital, prepared the Magnet application and lead a team of more than 40 Magnet ambassadors who engaged staff participation in the journey to Magnet recognition.

“This moment validates all of the hard work we have put in as an organization and we’re so excited to let everyone know that we have achieved excellence in patient-centered care,” said Phan, who also served as the Magnet program director for the hospital.