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Published on April 19, 2021

Billings Clinic achieves 4th Magnet® Recognition

Fourth recognition reinforces commitment to nursing excellence, puts Billings Clinic in top 1% of hospitals globally for nursing.

Billings, MT – Billings Clinic is thrilled to announce that it has attained Magnet recognition, the gold standard in nursing excellence, for the fourth consecutive time. A testament to its continued dedication to high-quality nursing practice, Billings Clinic has earned. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes health care organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. This credential is the highest national honor for professional nursing practice.

“Magnet is so important to our employees and to Billings Clinic because it really elevates the care that we give to an entirely new level. It holds us to a higher standard and encourages our nurses to seek new knowledge and to be innovative in the care that they deliver. We want to make sure that we’re providing the latest evidence-based care so that our patients get the very best,” said Laurie Smith, Billings Clinic Chief Nursing Officer.

“This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon nursing. It really is for those organizations that provide not just standard care, but excellent care to patients. It’s a commitment to invest in nursing to ensure that we receive the latest education so we can continue to provide the best care that we possibly can.”

Receiving Magnet recognition for the fourth time since 2006 continues the region’s largest health care organization’s proud inclusion in the global Magnet community – a small, select group of health care organizations and hospitals. Only about 7 percent of hospitals worldwide have achieved Magnet designation. Of those, only 98 have been recognized four times, placing Billings Clinic among the top 1 percent of hospitals globally for nursing.

“Magnet recognition is a tremendous honor and reflects our commitment to delivering the highest quality of care to this community,” said Scott Ellner, DO, Billings Clinic CEO. “To earn Magnet recognition once was a great accomplishment and an incredible source of pride for our nurses. Our repeated achievement of this important recognition underscores the foundation of excellence and values that drive our entire staff to work harder each day to meet the health care needs of the people we serve.”

In 2006, Billings Clinic became the first health care organization in Montana and the region to earn Magnet recognition and has continuously maintained its designation since. It is the only organization in the region to earn the distinction four times. 

Research by the American Nurses Association and the ANCC and demonstrates that Magnet recognition provides specific benefits to health care organizations and their communities. This includes:

  • Higher patient satisfaction with nurse communication, availability of help and receiving discharge information.
    • Improved patient safety and quality of patient care.
    • Identified excellence in nursing services.
    • Fewer workplace injuries for nurses.
    • A process of sharing best practices in nursing.
      • Increased registered nurse (RN) retention.
      • Decreased RN turnover rate.
      • Increased RN job satisfaction.
      • More opportunities for professional nursing development.
      • Lower risk of 30-day mortality and lower failure-to-rescue rates.
      • Higher job satisfaction among nurses.

Magnet recognition is the gold standard for nursing excellence and is a factor when the public judges health care organizations. U.S. News & World Report’s annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality of inpatient care.

The Magnet Model provides a framework for nursing practice, research, and measurement of outcomes. Through this framework, ANCC evaluates applicants across a number of components and dimensions to gauge an organization’s nursing excellence.

The foundation of this model comprises various elements deemed essential to delivering superior patient care. These include the quality of nursing leadership and coordination and collaboration across specialties, as well as processes for measuring and improving the quality and delivery of care.

To achieve initial Magnet recognition, organizations must pass a rigorous and lengthy process that demands widespread participation from leadership and staff. This process includes an electronic application, written patient care documentation, an on-site visit, and a review by the Commission on Magnet Recognition.

Health care organizations must reapply for Magnet recognition every four years based on adherence to Magnet concepts and demonstrated improvements in patient care and quality. An organization reapplying for Magnet recognition must provide documented evidence to demonstrate how staff members sustained and improved Magnet concepts, performance and quality over the four-year period since the organization received its most recent recognition.

Despite being in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Billings Clinic remained committed to both practicing and reapplying for the Magnet designation process. For example, instead of the usual 2 ½ day on-site visit from Magnet representatives, they held a virtual site visit that included 72 virtual sessions in a row in less than three consecutive days. 

“We’re a better organization today because of the Magnet recognition we first achieved 16 years ago,” said Smith. “Magnet recognition raised the bar for patient care and inspired every member of our team to achieve excellence every day. It is this commitment to providing the communities we serve with high-quality care that helped us become a Magnet-recognized organization, and it’s why we continue to pursue and maintain Magnet recognition.”

About ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program

The Magnet Recognition Program — administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the largest and most prominent nurses credentialing organization in the world — identifies health care organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and professionalism in nursing practice.

The Magnet Recognition Program serves as the gold standard for nursing excellence and provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. For more information about the Magnet Recognition Program and current statistics, visit

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