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UF Health Shands earns fourth Magnet recognition for nursing excellence

One of nation’s 41 hospitals with four consecutive designations

UF Health Shands hospitals and programs have earned their fourth-consecutive Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Only 41 health care organizations in the nation have received four consecutive Magnet designations and only 20 in Florida have Magnet status.

Magnet designation is the nursing profession’s most prestigious national recognition for health care organizations dedicated to nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes. Hospitals that earn Magnet recognition must meet stringent quantitative and qualitative standards that define the quality of nursing practices and patient care. The application process includes comprehensive written documentation, which is validated by site visits.

Only 8 percent of hospitals and health systems nationwide have received this designation. The Gainesville hospital system’s first Magnet designation in 2003 was followed by two subsequent redesignations in 2008 and 2013.

The goal of the nursing and patient care programs at UF Health Shands is to deliver on their mission of providing “experienced care, expert caring” to patients, families and the communities they serve.

This achievement reflects a commitment to a practice characterized by a high level of skill, according to Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, UF Health Shands Hospital chief nursing officer and Nursing and Patient Services vice president.

“Achieving four consecutive Magnet designations is a tremendous accomplishment and is a tribute to highly skilled, knowledgeable and caring nurses and staff,” Alexaitis said. “Our patient care teams are dedicated to achieving excellent outcomes through continued professional growth and development. I am extremely proud to work alongside such a committed team of professional nurses.”

According to the ANCC, “The Magnet Recognition Program provides a roadmap to nursing excellence, which benefits the whole of an organization.”

The ANCC, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, developed the Magnet Recognition Program to recognize hospitals that provide the best in nursing care and a supportive professional nursing environment. The program is designed to provide customers with a benchmark for measuring quality of care.

“Hospitals and nursing programs that earn the Magnet seal are recognized among the best worldwide,” said UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez. “Irene Alexaitis and our nursing staff achieve the highest standards of patient care and exceptional nursing practice and we are so proud of their commitment and accomplishments.”

UF Health Shands Nursing & Patient Services Facts & Figures:

Of our 3,000 UF Health Shands nurses practicing in our hospitals and outpatient programs across Gainesville:

  • Approximately 1,128 are certified nurses — approximately 196 were newly certified in 2017
  • About 581 are senior nurses who have worked at UF Health Shands for more than 15 years
  • Five inpatient units at UF Health Shands have earned Beacon Awards for Excellence issued by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Beacon Award for Excellence: UF Health Shands hospitals and programs currently have five nursing care units with active Beacon Awards for Excellence issued by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses: the Cardiac ICU (gold), the Pediatric ICU (gold), the Surgical/Trauma ICU (gold) and the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (silver). “AACN’s Beacon Award for Excellence provides a roadmap and tools to assist hospital units on their path to excellence, honoring individual units that distinguish themselves by improving every facet of patient care.” (

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Nacuya Rucker
Former Communications Specialist

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