AACN recognized 159 recipients of the Beacon Award for Excellence during a celebration yesterday, including 94 first-time awardees.
Award recipients include 36 gold-level, 111 silver-level and 12 bronze-level units, bringing the total to more than 700 awards since 2010.
“Leadership matters,” says AACN President Clareen Wiencek. “This is evident in the facilities that have received Beacon designation. It is clear without the support of leadership this achievement would not be possible. Pride matters. Every Beacon unit I visited — no matter the city or hospital — is extremely proud of their Beacon status. Role modeling matters.
“Beacon becomes contagious; when one unit is recognized in a system more follow after that first award,” she says. “Every day you provide courageous care for your patients. You do what is best for your colleagues, your patients and their families.”
Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence honors individual hospital units that employ evidence-based practices to improve patient and family outcomes. To receive an award, a unit must meet defined criteria in five categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement.
The three levels — gold, silver and bronze — allow units to chart their excellence over time by marking significant milestones along their journey. “Beacon signifies hope and empowerment,” says AACN board member Louise Saladino. “Hope because a single unit can apply to showcase the standard of excellence in their nursing practice. Empowerment because making a choice to pursue this award is boldly declaring, ‘we are confident in the standard of excellence we embody for our patients, their families and our colleagues.’ In the turbulence of healthcare today, Beacon offers a belief that safe, quality care is the cornerstone of professional nursing practice, and it is in our hands.”
VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, holds the most current Beacon Award designations with nine — four gold-level, three silver-level and two bronze-level.
Teresa Jahn, AACN Certification Corporation director, says a Beacon Award recognizes the value that nurses bring to the unit and their collaboration with other health professionals. “This year we saw so many units begin or continue their excellence journey. I am so inspired by your work. The enthusiasm in this room is truly contagious,” she adds.