Orange Coast Medical Center joins the most elite ranks of hospitals

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

– Florence Nightingale pledge

Developed in 1893, these are the words that nurses everywhere commit to. For the caring, compassionate team of nurses at Orange Coast Medical Center, their dedication has earned the hospital the highly coveted Magnet® recognition for excellence in nursing and patient care.


February 17th was a normal day for most people in the greater Fountain Valley community. But for Orange Coast Medical Center, it marked a significant milestone. Nurses, doctors, health care providers and staff members gathered in a large conference room, eagerly awaiting a single phone call. When it came, the crowd erupted in applause.

The caller, who was the chair of the Commission of Magnet at the American Nurses Credentialing Center, announced that Orange Coast Medical Center was granted Magnet® recognition – an elite status bestowed on only eight percent of hospitals nationwide. The Magnet Recognition Program® was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to acknowledge hospitals meeting the highest standards for nursing excellence, quality patient care, professional innovation and inter-professional collaboration.

“Obtaining Magnet® recognition represents a true zenith in my career,” says Dale Vital, M.B.A., B.S.N., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services. “This was a very significant achievement for the hospital and all the people who helped make it happen. Everyone worked together towards one common cause, and the end result is just incredible.”

The journey began in 2009, when CEO Marcia Manker incorporated the Magnet designation goal into the hospital’s strategic plan. With the support of the board of directors and physician and nurse leaders, the needed steps were threaded throughout the existing infrastructure to position the hospital to meet the rigorous Magnet requirements.

“Not all hospitals will endeavor to start the process; it takes substantial financial and time commitments, and ultimately, they may never meet the standards,” says director of clinical and quality improvement, Nika Carlson, M.S.N., R.N. “At Orange Coast Medical Center, superior patient and family-centered care is at the heart of what we do. We would never settle for anything less.”


Although the initial recognition required six years of focused work, the designation is applied for only four years. For a hospital to continue in this elite program, it must not only sustain its standards of care, but also promote a culture of excellence that meets, or exceeds, objective benchmarks set forth by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The Magnet Recognition Program strives to elevate the nursing practice, but to do so requires diligent effort. Professional development and growth for nurses is a fundamental expectation, so both the hospital and physician leadership support nurses for attending conferences and professional presentations. Nurses also conduct clinical research and implement evidence-based practices that will foster innovation and improvements in patient care.

“Every time you reapply, the bar is raised. That means Orange Coast Medical Center will continue to advance,” says Dale. “Every new policy, every new process, every new practice we’ve implemented, leads to one thing – the best possible patient outcomes.”

“Patients already choose Orange Coast Medical Center because we have excellent patient outcomes,” says Nika. “Now when they see the Magnet designation, they’ll have concrete evidence from an independent accrediting body that they are trusting their care to the best of the best.”