The Magnet Recognition Program® is a part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) program and is considered to be the “Nobel Prize” of nursing. Magnet status is based on quality indicators and standards of nursing practice as defined in the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Scope and Standards for Nurse Administrators. It encompasses excellent patient outcomes, a high level of nursing job satisfaction, low staff nurse turnover rates, and nursing involvement in data collection and leadership in patient care delivery. Hospitals and nurses are proud of this designation and by promoting this prestigious achievement; you can build your brand from the inside-out creating brand ambassadors and word-of-mouth. Moreover, marketing your nurses to the community highlights your organization’s commitment to quality, patient safety, and satisfaction.
In 2008, as the VP of Health Strategy at Princeton Partners Health, I began the strategic re-branding process with Capital Health, an acute-care, teaching health system headquartered in Trenton, NJ, we decided to focus on two main elements. Both represent Capital Health’s tagline Minds Advancing Medicine – their exceptional doctors and their Magnet nurses. After contacting ANCC, we discovered that Capital Health received Magnet designation two times in a row, placing their nurses in the top two percent nationwide. This was a credible fact that differentiated them from their major competitors in a powerful way.
We featured Capital Health’s Magnet designation to build referrals through four key audiences – internal stakeholders, consumers, physicians, and future nurses. Every element of the brand campaign, including multiple television, radio, print and out-of-home advertising spots in addition to digital and public relations initiatives, featured Capital Health’s nursing achievement.
Before launching the new brand to the public, we conducted an internal brand launch. Not only did this internal launch successfully inform physicians, employees, and volunteers about Capital Health’s Magnet nurses, but it inspired their internal community. When a brand campaign is authentic and credible, it becomes the essence of an organization. The brand promise is just that – a promise to its stakeholders. The promise becomes self-fulfilling because it is who your organization is and how your employees conduct themselves everyday.
As part of his formal presentation to the board members, Capital Health’s CEO unveiled the campaign in a custom video. This video was also shared via internal emails, the hospital’s Intranet, YouTube, and on TV displays throughout the hospital system. The CEO discussed why the organization was changing its brand, speaking specifically about the Magnet nurses and the support they provide the new Capital Health. He sincerely thanked the nurses, as well as the physicians, employees and volunteers who had contributed to the new, improved brand.
We created a communications channel matrix for all touch-points to physicians, employees, and volunteers including Intranet and email blasts, grand rounds, employee newsletters, posters, payroll stuffers, break rooms and cafeterias, direct mail, and key meetings promoting the campaign. Additionally, we gave out pins to every nurse, physician, employee and volunteer saying “I’m a Mind Advancing Medicine at Capital Health.” We featured the Magnet nursing ad in the video and throughout all of the internal communications materials. This built pride and enthusiasm among the nurses and all of Capital Health’s stakeholders.
To effectively reach the consumer, it was important that the ads focusing on the nurses articulated the meaning of the Magnet designation in a way that demonstrated the patient benefit. Many hospitals put the Magnet logo on their advertising and Web sites, but they don’t paint the picture of what this means for the patients and their families. If the consumers don’t understand it – what difference does it make? We spoke about what it takes to achieve Magnet status, educating the consumer. This kind of messaging not only builds awareness, but improves image, and creates a preference for your hospital. That consumer preference increases referrals and ultimately brand loyalty.
Physicians were also a key target audience for the campaign. Doctors recognize the difference in quality between hospitals with and without Magnet nurses. Having your hospital’s Magnet status top-of-mind with referring physicians is a powerful tool in a competitive market.
Lastly, with the nursing shortage and heavy recruitment competition in the region, we kept in mind the target of both nurses in the workforce looking to change hospitals and recent graduates searching for nursing positions. The messaging strategy of the brand campaign can be easily transitioned to recruitment advertising. Moreover, the campaign itself reflects the pride Capital Health has in its nurses – they are valued by the institution – that is attractive to nurses searching for a new employer.
If your hospital has Magnet designation and has not been promoting this amazing achievement – your hospital is missing a significant opportunity. Share the power of promoting your nurses with your leadership team and marketing department. If you have not yet achieved Magnet designation and have been having working with leadership to understand the magnitude of Magnet beyond the quality achievement itself, express to them the power of promoting your good work through marketing and pubic relations. The financial return in patient loyalty and physician referrals can be significant.
To learn more about building a powerful brand through promoting Magnet nurses, please contact Gabrielle DeTora at at firstname.lastname@example.org.