Meet the Expert

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® is an important nursing recognition credential. Magnet status is conferred on healthcare organizations that achieve high-standards in quality outcomes, patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional practice, with empowered nurses leading advances in health care. Katie Stephens, DNP(c), RN, PCCN is the expert on Magnet.

Meet the Expert – Katie Stephens, DNP(c), RN, PCCN

Katie Stephens, DNP(c), RN, PCN is the current Director of Nursing Excellence under Patient Care Services, and leading Stanford Health Care’s journey to its 4th Magnet Designation. We asked Katie to provide her expertise and insight into Magnet and what the designation process entails for the organization. 

The Magnet Recognition Program® is the highest national honor given for nursing excellence and quality patient care in the United States by the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

It is a tremendous honor for Stanford Health Care (SHC) to be among the 8% of all registered hospitals that achieve ANCC Magnet Recognition. There are 475 Magnet hospitals worldwide, with 34 in California. SHC initially received Magnet Recognition for Nursing Excellence in 2007 and was granted Magnet re-designation in April of 2012 and October of 2016. SHC will submit its 4th Magnet Re-designation application in August 2020.


During the 1980s, when there was a terrible nursing shortage in the US, a group of nurse researchers from the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) and the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) decided to study the elements of nursing work environments that contribute to nurse recruitment and retention. The term “Magnet” was established and an initial study of 163 hospitals was undertaken. The researchers found that 41 hospitals, which included Stanford University Hospital (now Stanford Health Care), possessed characteristics that supported the organization’s ability to both attract and retain nurses despite the national nursing shortage. The nurse researchers identified a list of merits that set these 41 hospitals apart from the others. These distinguishable traits, initially known as “14 Forces of Magnetism” were later organized into the 5 Magnet Model components.

5 Magnet Model Components


There is an ongoing increase in independent research that supports multiple measurable benefits of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program for nurses, patients, organizations and ultimately for the dynamic health care system. A high-level overview of these benefits are emphasized in the chart below and additional case studies take a deeper dive into the research.

For the nurses

Higher Nursing Engagement, Collaborative Culture & Positive workforce outcomes:

  • Lower nurse dissatisfaction and nurse burnout
  • Higher nurse job satisfaction
  • Lower registered nurse (RN) turnovers
For the patients

Higher Quality & Clinical Outcomes:

Quality and Safety

  • Adoption of National Quality Forum safe practices
  • Lower overall missed nursing care
  • Higher support for evidence-based practice implementation
  • Higher nurse-perceived quality of care
  • Higher patient ratings of their hospital experience

Patient Outcomes

  • Lower mortality rates
  • Lower failure-to-rescue
  • Lower patient fall rates
  • Lower nosocomial infections
  • Lower hospital-acquired pressure ulcer rates
  • Lower central line-associated bloodstream infection rates
For the organization

  • Lower RN turnover
  • Lower length of stay
  • Higher net inpatient income

Stanford Health Care as a “Magnetic Hospital” — Culture of Excellence 

The Stanford Health Care (SHC) professional practice model was designed by Stanford nurses. The model encompasses the Jean Watson Theory of “Caring Integrated with Science,” and reflects SHC’s vision “to Care to Educate and to Discover”. The SHC model incorporates core concepts in sustaining a culture of interprofessional excellence and includes the domains of care delivery, clinical practice, professional role, professional development, shared leadership, collaborative environment, education and research. At the center is the person, the patient and/or the nurse.

Stanford Health Care: The Path to 4th Magnet Re-designation

Achieving Magnet Re-designation is a rigorous and lengthy process that demands extensive participation from nurses and other healthcare professionals across the organization. The process begins with an application, followed by written documentation to support patient care outcomes with qualitative and quantitative evidence. 4th Magnet re-designation requirements expect hospitals to provide strong documented evidence of how Magnet concepts, performance, and quality were sustained and improved since the hospital received its most recent recognition. If the documentation meets ANCC’s standard of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly validate the organization’s enculturation of the Magnet® Model components. After this meticulous on-site validation process, the Commission on Magnet assess the appraisal report to determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.


As the largest sector of the healthcare workforce serving on the front-lines of patient care, nursing plays a critical role in patient safety, quality outcomes, and the overall experience of our patients, families, and community.  Magnet designation is one way nurses are recognized and validated for the tremendous contribution and impact created at all levels, especially on the front-lines of care.

At Stanford Health Care, our ongoing goal is to sustain a culture of interprofessional excellence where a positive and collaborative environment allows clinical nurses to influence the professional practice, structures, and standards of care. Our Magnet journey is about supporting and recognizing nursing’s contributions in achieving positive patient outcomes, enhancing recruitment and retention of outstanding healthcare professionals, expanding interdisciplinary collaborative relationships, and increasing involvement in the community and global partnerships.


Katie Stephens, DNP(c), RN, PCCN is the Director for Nursing Excellence and Magnet Programs. In addition to the oversight of our 4th ANCC Magnet Journey, the Nursing Excellence Department is responsible for a variety of special projects & programs, including but not limited to:

  • Shared Leadership Council (SLC Day/Retreat, Leadership Development, Action Request Form);
  • Nursing Communication (Annual Report, Looking Forward, Social Media, CNO Blog);
  • Friends of Nursing Scholarships & Grants; Nursing Grand Rounds;
  • Stanford Nursing Mentorship Program; International Visitors program;
  • Specialty Events (Certified Nurses Week, Nurses Week, Gingerbread House Competition & Tree Lighting Ceremony;
  • Nurse Manager Succession Planning; Nurse Manager Retreats;
  • Nursing & Interprofessional Recognition Boards, as well as
  • Biodesign & SMYSP Program pairing and leadership.

Katie started her nursing career at Stanford Health Care in 2008 as a travel nurse on B3/C3 and has worked in many roles since that time, including: Assistant Patient Care Manager for the B1, C1, ATIC and the VAST departments; Assistant Clinic Manager for Internal Medicine at Hoover Pavilion; and most recently as the Program Manager for Nursing Excellence.  Always a champion of nursing excellence, Katie was one of the original Magnet Champions for the 2012 journey and playing an integral role in the success of the 2016 3rd ANCC Magnet designation.

Katie received her Bachelor of Mathematics degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of San Francisco, California. She is currently completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership at the University of San Francisco, California.  Katie also holds a certification in Progressive Care Nursing and serves as the Association of California Nurse Leaders Statewide Membership Experience Committee Co-Chair.

In her free time, Katie loves to laugh, listen to music, workout, cook, play tennis, and DIY projects she finds on Pinterest.  She also loves to watch classic 80’s TV shows and movies or anything sci-fi related.

If you’d like to get in touch with Katie, she can be reached at


Article By: Katie Stephens

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