Nurse Power! The power of the magnetised hospital

2009 – In the battle against staff shortages in health care the “magnet hospital" is good weapon. The concept MagnetPlus has already proven to be very successful in America. Nurses have more control over the processes in their department in their hospital, nursing home or home care organization. Nurse Power!

The problem actually is not the shortage of nurses, but the shortage of the number of institutions where nurses want to work. Therefore, 25 years ago in America, it is investigated what the reasons are why some hospitals could keep their staff even in times of scarcity.  What characteristics determined this success? The elements that made the difference in these hospitals were described as magnet-forces, such as the quality of nursing leadership, organizational structure, management style, opportunities for professional development and autonomy. The key characteristic of this method is to ensure excellent care: providing top quality thanks to an extremely motivated and committed team.

Why this is workplace innovation
In this concept the individual employee’s motivation is merged with the interests of the entire organization.
The magnet concept provides institutions the opportunities to improve internal factors such as the conditions under which the staff works. These tools not only lead to higher job satisfaction of nurses, but also to a lower staff turnover. The concept allows an institution to make the difference in such a way that it can reduce the number of vacancies within the institution. Nurses also have much more to say about the content of the work and feel more responsible for the result.


Magnet Hospitals have a flat structure and decentralized decision making. Nurses are strongly represented at all levels of the organization: at the patients bed, in the management and in the board. There is a participative management style in which giving and receiving feedback is encouraged and appreciated. In addition, management encourages the professional development of employees.
Nurses make a difference and are equal partners for the managers and medical staff. Independent action is expected of the nurses, in line with the professional standard.


After the 2009 summer,  eleven Dutch healthcare institutions started with the pilot MagnetPlus. They achieved a Magnet-Certificate. This means that they stand in excellent nursing and patient-centered care. Examples include the St. Antonius Hospital Nieuwegein, Vlietland Hospital Schiedam , Icare Flevoland Lelystad , Medical Center Twente Enschede and OLVG-Amsterdam.

See the appendix for the article ‘In Schiedam beslissen de verpleegkundigen” (In Schiedam the nurses decide) (2009) by: C. Vos De Volkskrant.

And the essay: “We’ve got Nurse Power " (2008) Marie-José Willemse.