Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital recently became the second hospital in the state to receive the national Magnet credential for its nursing staff, a designation that will help it attract and retain the best nurses, hospital officials said.

The status places St. Francis in the top 6 percent of registered U.S. hospitals for nursing excellence, hospital officials said.

Spartanburg Regional Hospital is the only other hospital in the state to have the designation.

"I've been in nursing 32 years, and the day we found out was the most exciting day of my life," said Pennie Peralta, St. Francis vice president of nursing. "It shows that we have better patient outcomes, lower mortality rates, fewer complications and higher patient satisfaction than non-designated hospitals."

Peralta, who helped lead the four-year effort to obtain the national Magnet credential, said she's seen an increase in communication and collaboration between nurses and doctors during the certification process.

"The better the team, the better the care for the patient," she said.

Reach Renee Dudley at 937-5550 or rdudley@postand courier.com.