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Journey to Excellence

UC San Diego Health System achieved Magnet® status in December 2011. This designation acknowledges facilities that provide excellent nursing care to patients and families. Achieving Magnet status was the culmination of a journey that started in early 2007 as a means to demonstrate UC San Diego Health System’s commitment to clinical excellence.

Nursing Magnet Journey 

When first embarking on this journey, then UC San Diego Health System Chief Executive Officer Richard Liekweg commented, “Achieving Magnet designation is consistent with our vision of providing clinical excellence, our mission to take exceptional care of people – our patients, our visitors, and each other – and our overall Power of Excellence journey. Although the Magnet Program has been fostered by ANCC and our Magnet journey is being championed by our nursing colleagues, achievement of Magnet Designation requires each and every member of our team to demonstrate a consistent level of professional practice that results in exceptional care to our patients.”

The Magnet Recognition Program is administered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It was established in 1990 and provides a method of recognizing hospitals that create and maintain a professional practice environment that ensures quality patient outcomes.

The Magnet program is based on research which identified 14 characteristics that were best able to recruit and retain nurses. The 14 characteristics became known as the “Forces” and serve as the framework for the appraisal process and attributes that exemplify excellence in nursing.

The benefits of Magnet status are substantial. Research shows Magnet designation attracts highly qualified physicians and specialists; fosters a climate that reinforces collaborative working relationships; and above all, improves patient quality outcomes by establishing standards of excellence that health care organizations must attain. According to a survey conducted by the ANCC, 93 percent of respondents indicated that knowing that a hospital has passed rigorous standards regarding quality of hospital nursing care would increase their confidence in the overall care provided by the hospital.

Magnet Journey Video




UC San Diego Nursing Profesional Practice Model

The use of the starfish represents our model's five elements. A starfish communicates through its arms and coordinates movement to be successful in its environment.Like the starfish, our proressional practice model uses the interactions of our five elements to achieve quality patient family-centered care.


  • Professional Values: ANA Scope & Standards, California Nurse Practice Act, tenets of Professionalism: Peer Review, Patient Advocacy, Life-long Learning, Decision Making, Professional Organizations, Regulatory Agencies, Healthy Work Environment, UC San Diego Nursing Philosophy.
  • Professional Relationships: Commitment to Power of Excellence, C.A.R.I.N.G. standards, interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Patient Care Deliver System and Outcomes: Evidence-based care delivered by skillful caregivers to deliver optimal outcomes.
  • Compensation for Professional Achievement: Clinical Ladder, Professional Certifications.
  • Management Approach: Shared Governance Structure.

Reference: Brafman, & Beckstrom, R. (2006). The starfish and spider: the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations (p. 35). London, England: Penguin books LTD. Hoffart, N. & Woods, C. Q. Elements of a nursing professional model. Journal of professional nursing, 12 (6), 354-356.