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Exclusive: Major Midlands hospital trust next to apply for US nursing quality accreditation

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A hospital trust in Nottingham, and one of the largest in England, is to be the next UK organisation to apply for international recognition of its nursing care through a US scheme.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has today formally launched its bid to achieve Magnet status – awarded by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center, an affiliate of the American Nurses Association – by the end of 2019.

It follows Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to begin its application for Magnet accreditation, a title that is not currently awarded to any UK organisation.

Nottingham will spend the next three years ensuring it can meet a series of accreditation standards including those on nurse staffing levels, training requirements and clinical outcomes for patients.

Those leading the work at the trust said the organisation had already taken action in a number of areas in recent years – such as giving nurses more autonomy and leadership opportunities, and encouraging staff to become clinical academics.

“Magnet was built on creating the conditions to support nurse retention”

Kerry Jones

Such moves had created a “firm foundation” for its application to the ANCC, they said. The trust now needed to ensure that all of its nurse leaders and managers were educated to degree level, and that it had an action plan to show it was progresssing towards 80% of its entire nursing workforce had a degree by 2020.

It will also be required to collect around two years’ worth of ward-level data on clinical outcomes from nursing care to meet the Magnet standard that the trust is benchmarked in the top 50% of organisations internationally across all indicators for 18 months.

Dr Kerry Jones, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Magnet programme director, said the application to the scheme would be beneficial for both patients and staff.

She said the key reasons the trust had wanted to apply was to ensure better patient outcomes, to improve retention of staff, to prepare the workforce for future challenges and to build on its “shared governance” approach, which encourages nurses to be autonomous and share responsibility for improving practice.

“It’s really important for staff, because Magnet was built on creating the conditions to support nurse retention,” she told Nursing Times.

“Magnet is also about empowering nurses to be ready and confident to take on future care challenges,” she said. “The environment we are going into with the NHS – many of the solutions will come from the frontline, and Magnet is about that bottom-up improvement.”

“Magnet is also about empowering nurses to be ready and confident to take on future care challenges”

Kerry Jones

The organisation had already reduced falls and catheter-associated urinary tract infections in the past couple of years, but needed to make more improvements in these and other areas, said Ms Jones.

In addition, around 70% of its nursing workforce was trained to degree-level, due to the UK’s requirement for all new entrants to have been to university, as well as the organisation’s focus on nurses becoming clinical academics through achieving master’s degrees or PhDs, said Ms Jones.

The trust eventually wanted to ensure all nurses were graduates, but would start by focusing on nurse managers accessing degree training to meet the Magnet requirement, she said.

“We’ve had some fantastic outcomes in terms of nurse-led innovation. But now we need to build on that and scale it. The big thing is enabling staff on the ground to have control and oversight of their own staff and patient outcomes, so they can prioritise their own areas for improvement,” said Ms Jones.

She added that the application process required a “whole organisation commitment” and was being supported by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, which gives out grants for training and research.

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