OHSU earns Magnet designation for nursing excellence

Written by Deborah Eldredge, Ph.D., R.N.

On Thursday, August 23, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANNC) awarded OHSU Magnet Recognition for Nursing Excellence. The designation is no small achievement. It is only awarded to hospitals that meet the highest standards of patient care. In fact, only about 6 percent of hospitals across the country achieve Magnet status.

In order to earn the Magnet designation, some 2,200 nurses throughout OHSU completed several important steps to demonstrate excellent clinical care in OHSU hospitals and clinics. Those steps included:

  • Extensive training over several years to ensure OHSU nurses are utilizing and developing the evidence-based practices to care for patients.
  • Enhancing a shared governance structure by which nurses are actively involved in decisions that affect them, including how to structure the work environment.
  • Implementing a professional practice model (O’Rourke, 2003) that identifies the roles of scientist, leader, knowledge transferor, and practitioner – and nurses’ obligations to our highest level of professional practice.
  • Achieving excellent clinical outcomes for patients, including top quartile performance in preventing hospital acquired infections and pressure ulcer prevention.
  • The creation and submission of more than 4,000 pages of documentation to illustrate OHSU nurses’ dedication to professional practice by providing the best care possible and achieving high outcomes for patients.
  • A rigorous four-day onsite inspection by AANC of OHSU hospitals and clinics to witness patient care and professional nursing practice first-hand.

Magnet appraisers gave special recognition to the commitment to improving worker safety. OHSU implemented a Safe Patient Mobilization program, including ceiling lifts, to promote safe mobilization of patients and to minimize musculoskeletal injuries in staff working most closely with patients. The lifts have nearly eliminated injuries among staff. Funds saved from reduced injuries are being reinvested into additional lift equipment.

Workers in surgical areas are at risk for injuries from manipulating sharp instruments. The North Operating Room implemented a neutral zone, a clearly identified area in which sharp surgical instruments are exchanged between surgeons and staff. The neutral zone is identified as part of the pre-procedure pause, a required safety practice that ensures surgeons and staff have communicated all of the important elements of the procedure. Since the neutral zone was implemented, there have been no injuries from sharps.

Achieving Magnet Recognition is validation for the work our nurses do daily, and have done over an extended journey to build the best structures in which to practice professional nursing. Magnet status will help us continue to recruit and retain the best nurses.


Deborah Eldredge, Ph.D., R.N., is the director of Nursing Quality, Research and Magnet Recognition.

She came to OHSU in 1999 to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in geronotological nursing and later began teaching the evidence-based practice course as an assistant professor. In 2005, Deborah took a position shared between the OHSU School of Nursing and the Director for Evidence-Based Practice in OHSU Healthcare. In 2008, Deborah moved full-time to the Healthcare mission in her current role. She has been involved in OHSU’s Magnet journey since 2002.