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Magnet® recognition

Professor Dickon Weir-HughesWelcome from Magnet Program Director, Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes

In 2015, 350 nurses and midwives at Oxford came together to define a vision for the future. This work, later known as the Oxford Model for Exemplary Professional Nursing & Midwifery Practice, focused on the team's ambition to be nationally and internationally renowned for standards of care.

In years gone by, it was possible simply to say that care was good but the team felt that a more contemporary ambition should include benchmarking the outcomes of nursing and midwifery care at Oxford University Hospitals internationally. This ambition led us to start our journey to Magnet® recognition, which is the only international recognition program for high quality nursing and midwifery.

What is Magnet® Recognition?

Journey to Magnet Excellence - American Nurses Credentialing CenterMagnet® Recognition is an organisational credential awarded to exceptional healthcare organisations that meet the ANCC (American Nurses' Credentialing Center) standards for quality patient care, nursing and midwifery excellence and innovations in professional nursing and midwifery practice.

Magnet® Recognition is the highest international distinction a healthcare organisation can receive for nursing and midwifery excellence and quality of care that is delivered (ANCC 2013). It provides a benchmark framework to create an optional healthcare work environment that achieves extraordinary workplace cultures, delivers the highest standards of care and most importantly, achieves exemplary patient outcomes (ANCC 2013).

Being recognized by the ANCC as a Magnet® hospital means that the institution has demonstrated excellence in patient care. Not only does this designation provide a benchmark for patients, carers and the public to measure the quality of care they should expect at a hospital, but it has also been found to attract and retain the best nurses.

Magnet® recognition will provide further reassurance that nursing and midwifery care at Oxford University Hospitals is internationally world class. In other words, that we are a good place to be a patient and a good place to work.

What does Oxford University Hospitals have to do to achieve Magnet® Recognition?

Achieving recognition requires applicants to demonstrate compliance with a complex set of standards. The standards are updated every three years. About half of the standards require the collection of empirical data whilst others require a narrative response outlining the evidence that is being presented for consideration. All the standards are evidence based and they are all written by and approved by fellow nurses. We also must present:

  • Information about the academic qualifications of our nurses. This is because of the proven links between nurse's qualifications and patient outcomes.
  • Nurse sensitive clinical indicator data (such as numbers of pressure ulcers, falls with injury and certain types of infections, for example)
  • Patient satisfaction data
  • Staff satisfaction data

The Magnet® Program dovetails perfectly with the other priorities described in education and practice development and research and innovation.

In summary, the Magnet® Recognition Program advances several goals within healthcare organisations:

  • Promote quality in a setting that supports professional practice
  • Identify excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients
  • Disseminate best practices in nursing services.
  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Improve patient care, safety and satisfaction
  • Foster a collaborative culture
  • Advance nursing and midwifery standards and practice

What has been achieved so far at Oxford University Hospitals?

  • The cornerstone of our journey is our Professional Practice Model, which was launched in May 2016 and is at the embedding and evaluation stage. If you're a OUH member of staff, there are a range of materials available to promote the model available from the Magnet® Program Office
  • The involvement of frontline nurses and midwives in decision making about the policy and practice issues is key to Magnet® and is known as Shared Governance. We have several Shared Governance Councils in place in areas such as Cardiac (John Radcliffe), Children's Critical Care (John Radcliffe), Renal Transplantation (Churchill), Delivery Suite (John Radcliffe), Critical Care (Horton), High Wycombe Dialysis Unit (High Wycombe) with more to come online very soon. We also have several corporate Shared Governance Councils in areas such as Recruitment and Retention and Advanced Nursing and Midwifery Practice
  • We are aligning our clinical data collection methods for nurse sensitive indicators with the requirements of Magnet®, especially for falls with injury, pressure injuries (grade 2 and above), catheter related urinary tract infection and central line associated blood stream infections
  • We have also been aligning our processes for patient and staff satisfaction data collection with the requirements of Magnet®
  • We are developing the skills of our Magnet® Ambassadors. In other words, frontline staff who can promote the program and educate others about it. They then stay in touch using Yammer (which is a bit like 'professional' Facebook) and get regular updates. If you are an OUH member of staff and you'd like to become an Ambassador, we run a free monthly training session. You can book using the eLMS. Please speak to your line manager first though.
  • High standards of Education are key to high quality care and therefore an essential component of the journey to Magnet®. We have been working hard to increase the number of graduate (as opposed to diploma) nurses employed at Oxford University Hospitals plus developing post-graduate programs for clinical certification in areas such as Neurosciences, Perioperative nursing and Ophthalmology nursing.
  • The overall leadership focus of Magnet® is transformational leadership so we have also developed (with Northampton University) a post-graduate certificate program in nursing leadership called ‘Leadership Compassionate Excellence'. The program is the first two modules of a Master's degree in Nursing and has been very well reviewed.
  • We are also collating sources of evidence to support each Magnet® Standard and each standard has a nurse leader to champion it. The evidence gathering demonstrates just how innovative Oxford nurses and midwives so the process also provides an opportunity to celebrate best practice.
  • Our Nursing and Midwifery Board (Part B) is the Program Board for the Magnet® Journey and meets monthly and reviews a range of data regularly.


We aim to apply for Magnet® Recognition in 2020.

Contact us

For more information please contact the Magnet® Program Office:

Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes
Magnet Program Director

Sarah Stephenson
Lead Nurse, Magnet® Program