Beacon Award for Excellence

​​The Beacon Award for Excellence was developed by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to recognize individual hospital units that improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s healthy work environment standards. The AACN’s six healthy work environment standards are:

  • Skilled communication
  • True collaboration
  • Effective decision-making
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Authentic leadership

These standards provide the criteria by which hospital units are assessed. To receive the Beacon Award, a hospital unit must meet defined criteria within the following categories:

  • Effective communication
  • Knowledge management, learning and development
  • Outcome measurement
  • Appropriate staffing and staff engagement
  • Evidence-based practices and processes
  • Leadership structures and systems

The Beacon Award for Excellence is a prestigious honor closely aligned with current excellence indicators such as Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award. Out of the 6,000+ intensive care units in the United States, fewer than 300 of these units have received the Beacon Award.  The Beacon Award for Excellence awards three designations—bronze, silver or gold.

Gold - Units awarded the gold-level Beacon Award provide evidence of excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.
Silver - Units that earn the silver-level Beacon Award exhibit continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care.
Bronze - Units that receive the bronze-level Beacon Award demonstrate success in developing, deploying and integrating unit-based performance criteria for optimal outcomes.

In Washington State, there are only nine Beacon Award winners, and out of these nine, only one gold winner. UW Medicine has been honored with the receipt of two Beacon Awards, including the only gold.

Gold Beacon Award Winner

​The Harborview Medical Center Medical Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

​The Harborview Medical Center Medical Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is a 17-bed unit providing critical care services to a wide range of adult and geriatric patients with medical and cardiac needs.  The unit is staffed by 74 registered nurses, 1 nurse manager, 3 assistant nurse managers, 1 nurse technician and 10 hospital assistants.  The unit is supported by respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, medical and cardiac physician directors, medical residents for both services, ICU liaisons, cultural mediators, spiritual care staff and volunteers.

Silver Beacon Award Winner

The Harborview Medical Center Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit

The Harborview Medical Center Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit is a 24-bed unit providing critical care services to a wide range of adult patients with trauma- related injuries and surgical needs. The unit is staffed by 96 registered nurses, 1 nurse manager, 3 assistant nurse managers, 3 nurse technicians and 11 hospital assistants. The unit is supported by respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, a general/trauma surgeon medical director, surgical critical care fellows, medical residents, ICU liaisons, cultural mediators, spiritual care staff and volunteers. 

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