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Laying the foundations for implementing Magnet principles in hospitals in Europe: A qualitative analysis

Svensson, I., Bridges, J., Ellis, J. , Brady, N., Dello, S., Hooft, J., Kleine, J., Kohnen, D., Lehane, E., Lindqvist, R., Maier, C. B., Mc Carthy, V. J. C., Strømseng Sjetne, I., Eriksson, L. E. ORCID: 0000-0001-5121-5325 & Smeds Alenius, L. (2024). Laying the foundations for implementing Magnet principles in hospitals in Europe: A qualitative analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 154, article number 104754. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104754


Background: Magnet hospitals, a concept developed in the U.S., have been associated with improved nurse recruitment and retention, and better patient outcomes. Magnet principles may be useful to address workforce challenges in European hospitals, but they have not been implemented or evaluated on a large scale in the European hospital context.

Objective: This study aims to explore the initial phase of implementing Magnet principles in 11 acute care hospitals in six European countries. The specific objectives of the study were to investigate the type of work that characterises the early phase of implementation and how implementation leaders engage with their context.

Methods: A multinational qualitative study was conducted, with data from 23 semi-structured, one-to-one interviews with implementation leaders in 11 acute care hospitals in six European countries. Thematic analyses guided the analysis of data.

Findings: Three themes of core work processes during the early phase of implementing Magnet principles in European hospitals were identified. The first theme, ‘Creating space for Magnet’, describes how work was directed towards creating both political and organisational space for the project. The second theme, ‘Framing to fit: understanding and interpreting Magnet principles’, describes the translational work to understand what the Magnet model entails and how it relates to the local hospital context. Finally, the third theme, ‘Calibrating speed and dose’, describes the strategic work of considering internal and external factors to adjust the process of implementation.

Conclusions: The first phase of implementation was characterised by conceptual and relational work; translating the Magnet concepts, considering the fit into existing structures and practices and making space for Magnet in the local context. Understanding the local context played an important role in shaping and guiding the navigation of professional and organisational tensions. Hospitals employed diverse strategies to either emphasise or downplay the role of nurses and nursing to facilitate progress in the implementation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Magnet4Europe Consortium, Hospitals, Leadership, Magnet4Europe, Organisational innovation, Professional, Qualitative study, Workforce
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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