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Vital Pathways: Magnet Collaboration

Magnet Recognition Program ® Collaboration

The American Nurses Credentialing Center/Medical Library Association White Paper

[This paper is also available as a downloadable PDF file]

Excellence in nursing care and patient outcomes begins and ends with appropriate, relevant information to guide health care decisions. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® and Medical Library Association (MLA) core values and goals serve as foundations for collaborations to support nursing excellence and enhanced nursing practice. MLA, the premier organization for health sciences information professionals, has a commitment to quality information for improved health – a commitment that can augment the goals of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®.

This paper identifies shared core objectives of MLA and the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, and ways that MLA as a professional association and health sciences librarians in general can support these common core objectives.

It’s about time

Nursing excellence requires access to information resources necessary to provide evidence-based care. Not just access to any information; but the right information for clinical and research needs. This requires knowledge of information resources and effective skills to use them. It is not as easy as it sounds. Although technology has made access to information easier, it has created new challenges. As with nursing and medical knowledge, changes regarding information resources are continuous and exponential. Keeping current requires a great deal of time, not something that most nurses have to spare. Nurses are working in a highly dynamic environment. Very few nurses have the luxury of enough time to teach themselves how to master new databases.

It’s about expertise

When one needs expert health care one goes to a health care specialist. When one needs expert ‘information care,’ a librarian specialist is at your service. Librarians are information experts. They are specialists in the organization, management, dissemination, and use of information resources. As one must be knowledgeable about a myriad of evolving resources and products to provide information resources and services, librarian services are invaluable in supporting evidence-based professional practice and excellence in the delivery of nursing services.

Institutional fit of new resources and products requires expert knowledge management skills. It requires a comprehensive understanding of what resources are available, what resources are needed, how to negotiate license agreements, and how to manage electronic and print collections. In addition to selecting journals, books, and other publications, librarians use knowledge management skills to process, organize, disseminate, and monitor use of collections. Information resources are a huge financial expenditure for an institution and it is crucial that resources are presented and used effectively. Librarians are also concerned with content and access. They have the expertise to train users on how to use databases and how best to search for topics of interest. Health information literacy is crucial to locating the best information available on a needed topic.

The need for comprehensive information, not just summaries, requires sophisticated information retrieval skill. This skill is ingrained in a health sciences librarian. Information expertise provided by librarians allows nurses to use their precious and limited time to practice nursing. Health sciences librarians are essential partners in attaining and sustaining ANCC Magnet goals.

It’s about standards

The expertise of MLA member librarians can further the goals of ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® through standards that best exemplify the information resources and services necessary to support nursing excellence in healthcare settings. “MLA Standards for Hospital Libraries 2002 with 2004 Revisions” is a guide to ensure that hospitals have the resources and services to effectively meet their needs for knowledge-based information <>.

MLA’s Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section (NAHRS) is currently identifying specific information resources and services necessary for the practice of evidence-based nursing in health care settings. These standards will define how best to support the information needs of nurses. It will clarify what institutions need to do to support best practices, what nurses can expect, and what librarians can deliver. MLA is the organization with the expertise, credibility, and resources to create these standards.

It’s about collaboration

The core values of the Medical Library Association and the goals of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® are complementary and support collaborations that can advance these shared objectives.

MLA Core Values

ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® Goals

  • Improve the knowledge and skills of health information professionals
  • Advance health information research and evidence-based practice
  • Advance the role of health information professionals in providing the best health information to all who work in healthcare, health education and research
  • Promote the use of scientific evidence in making healthcare decisions
  • Improve the public's awareness and use of quality health information
  • Promote a sense of community and collaboration with similar organizations to ensure that the best health information is available to all
  • Promoting quality in a setting that supports professional practice;
  • Identifying excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients/residents; and
  • Disseminating “best practices” in nursing services.

MLA and ANCC collaboration can enhance and strengthen each other’s goals, furthering the core values and goals of each organization. As illustrated in the accompanying document “Librarians’ Contribution to their Institutions’ Magnet Journey”, health sciences librarians contribute to many of the Forces of Magnetism described in the Magnet Application Manual. Professional librarians can ensure that funds for evidence-based knowledge resources are used efficiently and that nurses are trained in their effective use to improve patient care and nursing professionalism.

Specifically, librarians support the following Forces of Magnetism:

Forces of Magnetism

Librarians can:

Force 5 Professional Models of Care

  • Help provide the evidence for care delivery models.

Force 6 Quality of Care

  • Select the best resources to support quality care and patient safety; provide and disseminate current literature to change administrative and clinical practices; support nursing research activities.

Force 7 Quality Improvement

  • Provide the evidence-based resources and support training for nursing staff to be involved in quality improvement efforts.

Force 8 Consultation and Resources

  • Offer the resources and training in research skills to contribute to enhancing the knowledge and skills of nursing staff.

Force 9 Autonomy

  • Ensure that nurses not only have access to the Internet and other literature sources but also that these sources are of high quality and as much as possible are evidence-based: help the nursing staff develop the skills to critically appraise these resources.

Force 11 Nurses as Teachers

  • Respond to the educational needs of nurses at all levels and provide resources for patient education.

Force 12 Image of Nursing

  • Partner with their nursing colleagues to promote the image of nursing within the organization.

Force 13 Interdisciplinary Relationships

  • Support guideline development, patient education resource acquisition, and policy updates.

Force 14 Professional Development

  • Support and encourage nursing research and publication and acquire the library resources to allow self-directed learning opportunities by nursing staff.

For future information, contact:

Carla J. Funk, MLS, MBA, CAE
Executive Director
Medical Library Association
65 East Wacker Place, Suite 1900
Chicago, Illinois 60601-726
312-419-9094, ext. 14


Melody Allison, RN, BSN, M.S.L.I.S., Assistant Biology Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration
Chair, MLA Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section (NAHRS) 2006-2007
Biology Library, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
101 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL  61801

Margaret Bandy, M.A.L.S., AHIP, FMLA, Medical Librarian and Manager, Library and Knowledge Services
Member, Medical Library Association Board of Directors 2006 - 2008
Chair, Standards Committee, MLA Hospital Libraries Section 2005 – 2007
Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital
1835 Franklin St.
Denver, CO 80218