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Beacon Award

Beacon Award The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) have received a Gold Beacon award for excellence by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). In addition, the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) received a Silver level distinction.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital critical care departments (PICU & NICU) are first in Florida to achieve this distinction of Gold level Beacon award. NICU is 2nd in the nation to receive the Gold level. "This recognition demonstrates the commitment of our outstanding staff in advancing care excellence and optimal outcomes," said Jackie Gonzalez MSN, ARNP, NEA-BC, FAAN, senior vice president and CNO at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. "We are delighted to be recognized for this tremendous achievement as it speaks to our dedication to the families in our care."

For patients and families, the Beacon award signifies exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall satisfaction. The gold award is the highest recognition level which demonstrates excellence in unit performance and patient outcomes.

The AACN created the Beacon awards to recognize hospital nursing units that improve every facet of patient care. For the critical-care nurses, a Beacon award signifies a positive and supportive work environment as well as great collaboration between colleagues and leaders.

The Beacon Award Criteria

In 2010, AACN updated the criteria for the Beacon Award for Excellence. The award continues to incorporate:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems.
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement.
  • Effective Communication.
  • Knowledge Management and Best Practices.
  • Evidence-based Practice and Processes.
  • Patient Outcomes.

Units that apply for Beacon Award recognition set the standard for excellence in acute and critical care environments by collecting evidence-based information. Patient safety and quality programs, such as the Leapfrog Group Hospital Quality and Safety Survey, regard the Beacon Award as a significant achievement in their evaluation process

In 2010, the nursing leadership of the Critical Care set their goals to achieve a Beacon award. The journey was long and challenging. Major efforts were focused on establishing standardized guidelines and protocol to drive and sustain the patient quality outcomes. With collaboration from all of the ICU’s, the team met weekly to write the documents. Evidence-based practice and processes were translated to bedside practice and hardwired to further sustain results. The leadership engaged staff to drive many of the initiatives.

Several staff led initiatives include raising funds so some staff can have an opportunity to attend the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) conference, an annual AACN conference to further increase their knowledge on patient management and best practice. The revenue of this initiatives resulted in sending 2-3 staff to attend conferences such as NTI.

The critical care units PICU, NICU & CICU have shown the way, setting an example that serves as a beacon for other departments, hospital and healthcare facilities to use, navigating the rough waters of critical care nursing.  This national award recognizes our critical care team for achieving the highest outcomes and for being a beacon of light, an inspiration, to other departments and critical care in the country. There are only 6 hospitals, 13 critical care units in the country that have received the Gold level award.

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