Our Magnet Journey

Deborah FulbrookI am proud to be an Inova Fair Oaks Hospital nurse that has been recognized three times as a Magnet designated facility. The entire Inova Fair Oaks Hospital team is dedicated to excellence, patient safety and the Inova Mission of providing world class healthcare every time, every touch to each person in every community we have the privilege to serve.

The Magnet document submitted to ANCC represents the great work and contributions that all nurses make to improving the patient experience and outcomes. I am proud of the partnerships that nurses have with our colleagues all striving to provide the best care possible. It is an honor to be part of this amazing team.

Deborah Fulbrook, Ed.M., MHS, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital

What is Magnet Recognition®?

Magnet Recognition® from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) 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 the Magnet designation, that is approximately 505 hospitals, it’s clearly a distinction to be proud of.

Our Nursing Team is gratified to work at Inova Loudoun Hospital, appreciating the quality of care required to be called a Magnet Hospital.

What does Magnet Recognition mean to our patients?

Today, patients are much more educated, informed and are seeking objective benchmarks that will aide them in choosing a health care 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 our nurses and the hospital?

Magnet designation means that a "Magnet culture" has been created within the organization. This provides the professional nurse:

  • Higher RN Satisfaction
  • Higher RN retention rates and decreased turnover
  • Promotes greater autonomy and responsibility
  • Participation in decision making
  • Clinical Collaboration
  • Increased opportunities for professional development and education.

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

Nurse Maura King
Esther (Maura) King, BSN, CEN, CPEN

I started at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital as a Clinical Technician and when I graduated from nursing school, I transitioned as a new graduate RN in the Clinical Decision Unit. I was later able to cross-train in the Emergency Department. I have grown and am now an RN4 and Charge RN in the Emergency Department.

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital has helped me grow. Through my work in the Sepsis Committee, I have become familiar with the sepsis bundle and now serve as a resource for physicians and nurses. I can approach my leaders and advocate for any changes we need to give patients excellent care. I helped establish a Smart Note that extracts data for our sepsis bundle care. This has improved efficiency in the Emergency Department and is a nurse satisfier. I am proud of the work we have done for our patients!

Nurse Jennifer Whalen
Jennifer Whalen, MSN, BA, CCRN, FNP-BC

In nursing school, I completed most of my clinical rotations at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. I chose to return once I was an RN to work in the Intensive Care Unit. I am now the Clinical Educator of the Emergency Department and the Float Pool. Direct patient care nurses at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital can impact meaningful change. Magnet means nurse empowerment and the voice of the nurse is listened to.

Nurses at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital are the best of the best. We embrace our mission and values. You see that in the senior leadership to Environmental Services. We recognize and reward the contributions of our team members. An example of this is the implementation of the Daisy award and the Peach award for non-nurses. I am proud of the work accomplished in the Emergency Department's Professional Development Committee. We increased the number of Emergency Department certified nurses by offering a free CEN review course and vouchers to offset the exam fee cost. We did this through the generous support of the Foundation. As a result, we have one of the highest certification rates in the hospital.

Nurse Katie Hile
Katie Hile, MSN, RN, NE-BC

I started my career at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital fifteen years ago. I was hired as a new graduate nurse in the Surgical Unit. From the beginning of my career at IFOH I was encouraged and mentored. During my time as a clinical nurse I participated in the ADVANCE program and became a Charge RN, attended nursing conferences, and was supported by my leaders and team to pursue a Master's Degree. I later became a Nurse Manager in the Medical Unit and progressed into my current role as the Senior Director of the Emergency Department and Acute Care Services.

Nurses at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital are patient-centered and quality focused. I am driven as a leader because I am surrounded by people who all care about patient outcomes and quality. One of the initiative I am most proud of is modifying patient-nurse ratios. Using benchmarks from with the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) against the health system we created a lasting impact on nurse satisfaction, improved quality outcomes, and better patient experience results.

Magnet allows us to advocate for resources, use data and ensure that the quality care is available for all our patients. Our nurses have a seat at the table and impact decisions at the care site and care system organizational levels. IFOH nurses embody front line influence, great quality, and the respect of hospital leaders.

Nurse Glory Viray
Glory Viray, BSN, RN CNOR

When I first arrived at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital sixteen years ago, I had just relocated as a NICU nurse from the west coast. The Operating Room had always been an area of interest for me, and I saw an opportunity to participate in the OR Fellowship at IFOH and rotate through all the system service lines where I found my niche with the vascular team.

Here at IFOH I became preceptor and involved with the retina program when it launched in 2008. I am now the service line leader for the Retina Program. I love my role because it blends my clinical and administrative experience. My knowledge and skill are valued here and I am encouraged by leadership.

Working at a Magnet hospital means having leadership that supports you in providing the best possible care for the patient. Patients are going to receive quality care at IFOH because of how well nursing is championed here. I love my job and work alongside the best nurses! We hold each other accountable and we also have fun.

Brittany Ralston, RN
Brittany Ralston, RN

I have been working at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Radiation Oncology for over a year. Previously, I had a travel nurse but made the decision to stay at IFOH as I had a special interest in oncology. In the Radiation Oncology department we have cohesive communication and great teamwork. Everyone has been supportive as I transitioned from inpatient nursing to Radiation Oncology and I have enjoyed learning the different modalities.

Magnet facilities are great learning environments and IFOH is an organization that propels its staff in a more educated direction. I am always learning and grateful I found a new home here.

Eleftheria “Rula” Brown, BSN, RN
Eleftheria "Rula" Brown, BSN, RN

I came to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital to complete my clinical rotation three and a half years ago. I have worked at other organizations in both inpatient and outpatient units, but came to IFOH for an opportunity in the GE Lab. What I really like about this area if nursing is the quick pace and hands-on experience.

To me Magnet means top-notch, high-quality patient care. When we speak to potential nursing candidates the bar is set high. We give excellent patient care and expect the same from our team members. We are a close knit group at IFOH. Without hesitation, I would send a friend or family member to Inova Fair Oaks as a patient.

Magnet Components

Transformational Leadership

Instilled in nurse leaders at all levels the autonomy to make decisions, acquire resources and advocate for what they needed. Leaders encourage all team members to influence change, and improve their practice environment to assure improve patient outcomes. Accomplished nursing leaders across the organization embrace the organizational goals, support professional growth and facilitate a shared decision making environment.

Throughout this pandemic, while many things looked different what did not change was leadership’s unwavering support of Inova Fair Oaks Hospital's Magnet Journey, successful onboarding of the new graduates through the residency program, and supporting practice changes throughout the organization through strong interprofessional collaborations.

Structural Empowerment

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital embraces a culture of Shared Governance and clinical nurses leading the way for change. Nurses at all levels are included in the work of Shared Governance and Unit Practice Councils. Clinical issues/concerns are brought to the monthly Care Site Council where nurses from across the organization participate through multidirectional communication and collaboration with all disciplines to improve patient outcomes and foster the professional practice of nursing.

Ongoing professional development continues to be a cornerstone of nursing practice. There are structures and processes 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 participated in educational activities, through the use of creativity and technology IFOH nurses attended numerous educational programs, continued to pursue degrees, became certified in their specialty, and advanced on the clinical ladder. We currently have 100 nurses on the clinical ladder and over 200 nurses hold a professional nursing certification.

The nurse residency program continued to support the 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

The nursing team works in partnership with team members across the organization to advocate for high-quality patient outcomes through collaboration and bidirectional communication. Nurses at all levels participate in and lead interprofessional teams focused on improving patient care and safety. The Stoke Committee, MSET Team and Sepsis Teams are interprofessional groups led by a nurse.


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 the nurse-sensitive indicators and have active plans in place to sustain our excellent outcomes. IFOH consistently outperforming the national benchmarks on all nurse sensitive indicators including falls with injury, HAPIs, CAUTIs, and CLABSIs is indicative of the front line nurses commitment to evidence-based practice and exemplary professional practice.

In the 2020 National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators RN satisfaction survey, IFOH 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 are the hallmark of an organization on the Magnet journey and even with the unique challenges that 2020 presented, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital nurses continued to integrate evidence-based practice in their clinical practice. Nurses from across the organization participate in EBP projects that led to changes in practice. Our culture of clinical inquiry around research climbed with two ongoing research project led by clinical nurses.

The Inova Fair Oaks Hospital Nursing Research and EBP Council has seen an increase in front line staff membership with several of the members completing a Quality Improvement or EBP project as part of their DNP program.