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Organization Eligibility Requirements


The applicant organization must exist within a healthcare organization.

Nursing Leadership

The applicant organization must include one or more nursing settings with a single governing authority and one individual serving as the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). The CNO is ultimately responsible for sustaining the standards of nursing practice in all areas in which nurses practice.

All entities (hospitals, long term care, rehab center, hospice, surgicenters, ambulatory clinics, etc.) and all settings (MedSurg, OB, NICO, ICU, CCU, Step-Down, Rehab, Pediatrics, Psych, ER, Dialysis, Home Care, Long Term Care, etc.) where the CNO is ultimately responsible for sustaining the standards of nursing practice in the environment in which nurses practice must be included. See the Magnet® Application Manual, Eligibility Criteria, page 8.

The CNO must participate on the applicant organization's highest governing decision-making and strategic planning body.

Educational Eligibility Criteria (at the time of Application

Chief Nursing Officer
Effective 2003, the CNO must hold at a minimum, a master's degree at the time of application. If the master's degree is not in nursing then either a baccalaureate degree or doctoral degree must be in nursing. The requirement must be maintained throughout the application phase, review phase, and designation as a Magnet organization. Appointees as interim CNOs must also comply with this requirement.

Nurse Managers
A Registered Nurse with 24/7 accountability for the overall supervision of all Registered Nurses and other healthcare providers in an inpatient or outpatient area. The Nurse Manager is typically responsible for recruitment and retention, performance review, and professional development; involved in the budget formulation and quality outcomes; and helps to plan for, organize and lead the delivery of nursing care for a designated patient care area.

  • Effective 1/1/2013 (at time of application) – 100% Nurse Managers must have a degree in nursing (baccalaureate or graduate degree)

Nurse Leaders (06/2015)

  • Effective 1/1/2013 (at time of application) – 100% of nurse leaders must have a degree in nursing (baccalaureate or graduate degree)
  • Nurse leaders must have a degree in nursing (bachelor's or higher).
  • Nurse leader is not a title and should not be interpreted as such for the purpose of the written documentation.
  • The definition of nurse leader is exclusive of the chief nursing officer (CNO).
  • Nurse educators who serve in the top educator role and are responsible for other nurse educators are considered nurse leaders.
  • Nurse leaders may have clinical oversight and responsibility for nurse managers or for other nurses who influence clinical care.
  • Nurses may be represented on only one eligibility table—either the Nurse Manager or Nurse Leader Eligibility Table.
    • Only nurse leaders annotated on the Nurse Leader Eligibility Table may be selected when a nurse leader example is required by the SOE.
    • Note: For applicants with flat organizational structures without nurse managers, the nurse leader may be substituted for nurse manager SOE examples.
  • Nurse leaders may report directly or indirectly to the CNO.
  • Nurse leaders practice (clinical and nonclinical) in a variety of settings (inpatient, ambulatory, or other environments) throughout the organization.
  • Other registered nurses who may broadly influence or impact the clinical practice of nurses in the organization may be considered a nurse leader. If these nurses are referenced as nurse leaders in the organization's Magnet® application, they must meet the educational criteria (bachelor's in nursing or higher) and report directly or indirectly to the CNO. Examples may include, but are not limited to, RN director of risk management or quality, RN director of nursing informatics, infection preventionists, and wound ostomy nurses.


  • CNO will attest to this eligibility requirement on application.
  • When written documentation is submitted the organization will include a table that identifies each nurse manager and nurse leader and their highest nursing degree. Download the template titled 2019 Nurse Leader AVP Education Table. Use this tool to document the highest nursing education, baccalaureate or graduate degree, of nurse managers and leaders, to demonstrate compliance with eligibility criteria. Provided at time of written documentation submission.

Standards for Nurse Administrators

Applicant organizations must have the Nursing Administration: Scope and Standards of Practice currently implemented throughout nursing.

Protected Feedback Procedures

Applicant organizations must have policies and procedures that permit and encourage nurses to confidentially express their concerns about their professional practice environment without retribution. Policies and procedures that discourage nurses to express their concerns about their professional practice environment are prohibited.

Regulatory Compliance

Organizations must comply with all federal laws and regulations administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or other federal agencies that administer healthcare programs, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as they relate to registered nurses in the workplace. Institutions that have their Magnet designation revoked, or are prevented from continuing the application process due to an adverse decision, are prohibited from reapplying for Magnet designation for a period of 1 year.

Data Collection

Applicants for Magnet designation must collect nurse-sensitive quality indicators at the unit level and benchmark that data against a database at the highest/broadest level possible (i.e., national, state, specialty organization, regional, or system) to support research and quality improvement initiatives. The intent is to collect data that is applicable and value-added for the particular unit and organization. Organizations must contribute their own data (patient and nurse satisfaction, clinical nurse sensitive indicators) to a national database that compares the organization's data against cohort groups at the national level.

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