The magnet hospital concept, developed in the United States of America (USA) in the early eighties, identified characteristics successful in attracting and retaining nursing staff. The nursing profession in Australia is currently focused on issues of recruitment and retention; therefore it is relevant and timely to consider the significance of the magnet concept to Australian health facilities. The project was undertaken in two stages: one using focus groups to revise the tool for use in Australia; and a second, using a questionnaire to test the reliability, validity and usability, of this revised tool, in a sample of Australian hospitals. The focus groups identified three main issues requiring modification to the existing tool namely: language; contextual meaning; and, presentation. The data from the questionnaire shows that the analysis of the Australian version of the magnet measurement tool retained acceptable levels of internal consistency. The results of the pilot indicate that respondents were clearly positive in their responses related to the three subscales of: ‘quality of care’; ‘management, leader and support’; and ‘nurse‑physician relationships’; while ‘nurse participation’ and ‘staff and resources’ subscales were rated less positively by the respondents. This means the tool is appropriate to use in an Australian context and is able to produce specific and reliable data on magnet features in Australian health facilities. The significance of this research is that it informs the promotion of organisational change that has been shown to facilitate nursing staff retention and positive health outcomes in Australia.
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Joyce, JT and Crookes, PA, Developing a tool to measure 'magnetism' in Australian nursing environments, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(1), 2007, 17-23.