Nursing excellence is key to outcomes: Study shows Texas Children's Magnet status means better outcomes for very low-birth-weight infants

HOUSTON - (May 11, 2012) - A recent study of more than 72,000 very low-birth-weight infants (VLBWI) found that babies fared better when they were born in hospitals that have earned Magnet status, a national designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Compared with hospitals that do not have recognition for nursing excellence (RNE), there was a significantly lower rate of hospital infection (16.7 percent of VLBWI in RNE hospitals and 18.3 percent in non-RNE hospitals), death at seven days (7.0 percent in RNE hospitals compared with 7.4 percent in non-RNE hospitals) and severe intraventricular hemorrhage (7.2 percent in RNE hospitals and 7.8 percent in non-RNE hospitals).

The study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, was released in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We are proud to be a Magnet hospital as it further reinforces our commitment to nursing excellence, which directly impacts the outcomes of our patients," said Emily Weber, R.N. and director of nursing at Texas Children's Newborn Center. "We know our highly-trained neonatal intensive care nursing staff is especially crucial to the care of the tiniest and most critically-ill babies being treated in our Newborn Center."

Texas Children's Hospital has held its Magnet status since 2003 and is one of only 7 percent of hospitals in the United States to hold this status, which recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

Infants weighting less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 pounds, at birth require very specialized care only available in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Only 20 percent of hospitals in the U.S. with NICUs have Magnet status including Texas Children's Newborn Center, which has the largest level III NICU in the nation and treats more than 2,500 babies per year, of which nearly 10 percent are VLBWI. The study suggests that better outcomes observed in VLBWI may reflect higher-quality NICUs and obstetric care and that the hospital's Magnet status may serve as a marker for an institution-wide commitment to optimizing outcomes.

The study also notes that RNE hospitals are also more likely to be larger and to provide level C care, meaning they can provide major surgery, including cardiac procedures and care for more infants at the highest risk, such as those with low Apgar scores. Six of the nation's top eight children's hospitals, including Texas Children's Hospital, are ANCC Magnet recognized. Compared with non-RNE hospitals, RNE centers were more often teaching hospitals (33 percent versus 27 percent) and not-for-profit (87 percent versus 71 percent). Texas Children's Newborn Center is ranked first in Texas and fifth in the nation in neonatal care by U.S. News World Report.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at