MSK Celebrates Prestigious Recognition for Nursing Excellence


Memorial Sloan Kettering has long been proud of the exceptional care our nurses provide to patients and their families. Today, our dedicated, compassionate nursing staff achieved Magnet recognition®, the nation’s highest honor for excellence in nursing. This prestigious designation, granted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), marks the culmination of a years-long concentrated effort involving nurses at all levels, hospital leadership, and other staff — and validates the exceptional care our nurses provide. 

The Magnet Application Process

Appraisers review and score documentation demonstrating transformational leadership, shared governance, innovative practice and learning environment, patient outcomes, and nurse job satisfaction. If the institution’s performance falls within a range of excellence, the appraiser team conducts an on-site visit.

The good news came in a telephone call to Elizabeth Nelkin McCormick, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, that was announced live to a packed auditorium of excited nurses, doctors, administrators, and support personnel at MSK’s Zuckerman Research Center.

“This recognition provides confirmation of the superb performance of our entire nursing staff, which at every level holds to the highest standards in providing compassionate care to our patients,” says Ms. McCormick. “They are knowledgeable, dedicated professionals at the forefront of clinical care, demonstrating integrity, leadership, and excellence every day.”

“We have always known that MSK nurses are in a class of their own, and today we received official word that the rest of the world will know too,” says Craig B. Thompson, MSK President and CEO. “The journey toward MSK’s Magnet recognition has required intense effort by every one of MSK’s nearly 3,000 nurses, as well as the support and encouragement of their clinical and administrative colleagues. We need to give special thanks, however, to Annlouise Moran, our Nurse Leader, Magnet Program, for her focused, relentless quest to ensure that our hopes for Magnet recognition were realized.”  

The Road to Recognition

MSK Site Visit

In December 2015, the ANCC conducted a site visit to interview staff and management to verify narratives from the application and confirm MSK’s high standards of nursing and organizational excellence. Staff, patients, and family members described their experiences with MSK nurses in an open forum, several speaking with great emotion about the nurses’ skill and compassion.

MSK’s nursing leadership has been committed to empowering nurses for decades, emphasizing the importance of engagement with their work and giving them an abundance of autonomy. The nursing team has also continually assessed the quality of care, and participated in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, which provides a means to evaluate nursing care at the unit level, since 2005.

In 2008, MSK’s nursing leadership adopted a professional practice model known as Relationship-Based Care (RBC), which provides a conceptual framework for nursing. It integrates nurses’ three key relationships — with patients and caregivers, with their colleagues, and with themselves — to create a healing environment where patients and families are at the center of caring practice.

In the ensuing years, nursing leadership took steps to implement the RBC model, holding strategic planning workshops and educational sessions to train nursing staff in RBC principles and practices. 

An Award for the Whole Organization

“Magnet recognition is given to an organization, not just to its nurses, and it cannot be achieved without full support of the entire institution,” Ms. McCormick says. “Our leadership has always recognized the integral role nurses play in the care team and has empowered and engaged our nurses to achieve excellent clinical outcomes.”

“This honor is important to our patients because it gives them greater assurance that they’re coming to an organization where the nurses are highly skilled and knowledgeable,” she adds. “The public knows that a hospital that achieves Magnet recognition delivers high-quality care, and that the nurses and other members of the care team are experts not only in their specific disease but also the patient’s individual needs and preferences.”

The Magnet Recognition Program®, ANCC Magnet Recognition®, Magnet®, ANCC National Magnet Conference®, and Journey to Magnet Excellence® names and logos are registered trademarks of the American Nurses Credentialing Center. All rights reserved.