Not too long ago, the nation was experiencing a nursing shortage. The American Academy of Nursing conducted a study and identified "Forces of Magnetism," characteristics shared by health care organizations that continued attract and retain nurses in great numbers. Ultimately, these became the basis for the Magnet Recognition Program. "Magnet is the ultimate seal of approval in this industry," said Dionne Dixon of Hackensack University Medical Center. "As a recruiting tool, the seal lets nurses know they will be working alongside the best in their field."
In 2011, the Magnet program made revisions, aligning its criteria with IOM recommendations for a larger proportion of BSN nurses. By 2020, hospitals seeking Magnet status will need to ensure that 80% of their nurses hold at least a BSN. HackensackUMC needed approximately 400 nurses to earn a BSN, and the hospital wasn't naive to these barriers. They formed a partnership with EdAssist, a provider of tuition assistance management services. EdAssist assessed HackensackUMC's existing tuition assistance program and revised it to ensure its use as a highly strategic tool: it would not only support the medical center's mission of having its current nursing staff obtain BSN degrees, but align the academic progression of its adult learners to their current and future skill gaps long-term.