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8095 Innovation Park Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031


Magnet Components - Nursing at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital


Our Magnet Journey

Alquietta BrownInova Mount Vernon Hospital is proud to receive our first Magnet designation. Our journey to Magnet was well underway when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. Through all the challenges, our nurses’ commitment to our mission, vision and values remain steadfast. I am incredibly proud of and grateful for our talented team here. To achieve this distinction during some of the most complicated and difficult years of our nation’s history truly exemplifies an extraordinary level of dedication, resilience and support for one another.

Alquietta Brown, PhD, MHSA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital

What is Magnet Recognition®?

ANCC Magnet Recognition is the most prestigious distinction a healthcare organization can receive for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. With only 9% of U.S. hospitals earning Magnet designation (approximately 505 hospitals), it’s clearly a distinction to be proud of.

What does Magnet Recognition mean to patients?

Today, patients are much more educated and informed when it comes to seeking objective benchmarks that will aide them in choosing a healthcare provider. Studies have shown Magnet hospitals provide:

  • A higher standard and level of patient care
  • Better patient outcomes
  • A safer environment
  • Higher nurse-to-patient ratios
  • Lower mortality rates
  • Shorter stays

What does Magnet Recognition mean to nurses and hospitals?

Magnet designation means that a culture of excellence pervades the organization. Benefits to nurses include:

  • Higher RN satisfaction
  • Higher RN retention rates and decreased turnover
  • Greater autonomy and responsibility
  • Higher participation in decision-making
  • Clinical collaboration
  • Increased opportunities for professional development and education

We asked our IMVH Nursing Team: What does working at a Magnet® hospital mean to you?

Nurse Lauren SchwindtMagnet® means the highest of standards. When you set the bar high, people rise to expectations. It means a solid, inherent commitment to excellence for every patient, their family members and every visitor to Inova. I take pride in the care of my patients and the entire patient experience. This means treating patients and their support system with dignity and respect, while providing physical and emotional support, education, access to additional services and a caring and compassionate heart. Magnet for me is the standard of excellence that we provide always.

Lauren Schwindt, BSN, RN, CEN

Nurse Edith ArtigaA nurse who works in a Magnet® hospital is very proud to be part of that team, because it means that the organization takes care of their employees and their employees take good care of patients. It's like a change reaction. Positive energy can be contagious. The nurses and interprofessional team are knowledgeable, supportive and current with evidence-based practice, which ensures excellent patient care and a supportive, dynamic nursing practice environment.

Edith Artiga, BSN, RN



Nurse Juliet HallI am a part of a great work environment, and I have the support of my nursing leaders to empower my patients and the community I serve. Being Magnet would mean that everyone would know all that we do is done with compassion, competence and is grounded in evidence-based practice. As a direct care nurse, Magnet means I am supported in my professional development through education, peer feedback, certification resources and a clinical ladder for advancement.

Juliet Hall, RN, CAPA


Nurse Monica DontohTo me, being a Magnet® nurse means providing excellence in nursing care and quality care, using evidence-based practice to achieve results at bedside. As a Magnet nurse, I am empowered to collaborate with other disciplines and teams to bring the best to my patients. I am part of shared governance for my department and my opinion is treasured and incorporated in making decisions or changes. My organization offers me the opportunity to grow as a nurse through advancement, certification, research and leadership opportunities. I’m rewarded for my achievements. I feel love, care and support from my organization. I’m able to channel the same to my patients at the bedside, to give them excellent care for optimum patient satisfaction.

Monica Dontoh, BSN, RN, CRRN





Magnet Components

Transformational Leadership

Our Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Alquietta Brown, PhD, MHSA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, has been the biggest champion of our Magnet® journey. Her continual fostering of an environment of support and encouragement is leading nurses to excel in their professional practice. Even with the huge COVID-19 challenges of 2020, she continued to ensure IMVH had the staff and supplies needed to safely care for this vulnerable patient population.

Dr. Brown instills in nurse leaders at all levels the autonomy to make decisions, acquire resources and advocate for what they needed. She encourages them to influence change, and improve their practice environment to assure improved patient outcomes. Accomplished nursing leaders across the organization embrace organizational goals, support professional growth and facilitate a shared decision-making environment.

Throughout this pandemic, many things looked different. What did not change was leadership’s unwavering support of IMVH’s Magnet journey, successful onboarding of new graduates nurses through residency programs and supporting organization-wide practice changes through strong interprofessional collaboration.

Structural Empowerment

Sara MulhernIMVH embraces a culture of shared governance and our Magnet® journey has ignited a spark in clinical nurses leading the way for change. Nurses at all levels are included in the work of shared governance and unit practice councils. In 2021, Sara G. Mulhern, BSN, RN4, CMSRN, became chair of our Care Site Council and co-chair of the Inova Health System Nursing Shared Governance Council.

The Care Site Council meets monthly, addressing clinical issues and concerns from across the organization. Multidirectional communication and collaboration with all disciplines improves patient outcomes and fosters the professional practice of nursing.

Ongoing professional development continues to be a cornerstone of nursing practice. Structures and processes are in place to support the professional development of the nursing staff. Nurses are afforded the time to participate in educational programs. While the pandemic brought changes to the way nurses engaged in these activities, IMVH nurses used creativity and technology to attend numerous educational programs, continue to pursue degrees, became certified in their specialty, and advanced on the clinical ladder. There are 93 nurses on the clinical ladder and more than 160 nurses hold a professional nursing certification.

The NRP continued to support new nurses’ transition to practice and a Nurse Leader Transition-to-Practice program supports our new nurse leaders’ professional growth. The End-of-Life Task Force partnered with community members to provide education to staff from a family perspective.

Exemplary Professional Practice

Two people at stroke awareness event tableThe IMVH nursing team works in partnership with colleagues across the organization to advocate for high-quality patient outcomes. Nurses at all levels participate in, and lead, interprofessional teams focused on improving patient care and safety. Nurses lead the interprofessional Stroke Committee, MSET Team and Sepsis Team.

In 2020, IMVH continued to be a leader both regionally and nationally in providing world-class sepsis care. For the fourth year in a row, our hospital had the highest compliance among Inova hospitals with the SEP-1 core measure. At the end of 2020, reported that we had achieved 90% on SEP-1, well above the Virginia average of 54% and national average of 60%. Despite the challenges of 2020, IMVH maintained better-than-expected sepsis mortality rates, even when compared to similarly sized Magnet hospitals across the nation. In 2020, our Emergency Department team reduced the time it takes for severe sepsis and septic shock patients to receive antibiotics by 15%. Nurses, working alongside providers and team members from multiple disciplines, have led the way with these lifesaving initiatives. IMVH officially received its two-year Joint Commission recertification as a Primary Stroke Center and was redesignated as a Center of Excellence for hip/knee surgery.

Nurses are acutely aware of their unit-based quality data and review strategies geared toward improvement at their council meetings. We consistently outperform benchmarks on nursing-sensitive indicators including falls with injury, HAPIs, CAUTIs, and CLABSIs, and have active plans in place to sustain our excellent outcomes. This performance is indicative of front-line nurses’ commitment to evidence-based practice and exemplary professional practice.

In the 2020 National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators RN satisfaction survey, IMVH nurses exceeded benchmark in the Magnet domains of adequate staffing, manager/leader, foundations for quality care, participation in hospital affairs, autonomy, professional development opportunities and interprofessional relationships.

New Knowledge and Innovation

Innovation in nursing practice and patient care is the hallmark of an organization on the Magnet® journey. Even with the unique challenges of 2020, IMVH nurses continued to integrate evidence-based practice (EBP) in their clinical practice. Nurses from three different clinical areas (ICU, Medical-Surgical and Behavioral Health) participated in EBP projects that led to changes in practice. Our culture of clinical inquiry climbed with two ongoing research projects led by clinical nurses.

Tigist Mannaye, MPH, BSN, RN4, CRRN presented the results of her nursing research study, Trio Rounding in Acute Rehab, virtually at the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses National Conference in October. She was also accepted for a regional poster presentation based on her research findings.

The IMVH Nursing Research & EBP Council has seen an increase in front-line staff membership with several nurses completing a quality improvement or EBP project as part of their DNP program.