Beacon Handbook Update — Effective July 1, 2013

The AACN Beacon Award for Excellence handbook and criteria questions have been updated based on valuable feedback we have received from Beacon applicants and our volunteer reviewers.

The update will clarify, streamline and improve the organization of information and the criteria questions; however, there are no significant changes to the criteria’s context or meaning.

Effective July 1, 2013, units will need to use the new handbook to guide their application development.

In addition, an application template will be available July 1, 2013. Applicants will be required to write and format their application using the new template, further streamlining the application process.

Applying for the Beacon Award Before July 1, 2013

We are applying for a Beacon Award before July 1, 2013. What does this mean for our unit’s Beacon application?

  • Submit your Beacon application as planned using the current handbook and criteria.

Applying for the Beacon Award After July 1, 2013

We are applying for a Beacon Award after July 1, 2013. What does this mean for our unit’s Beacon application?

  • If your unit has already prepared a large portion of the application:

    Contact us at If your unit has written a significant portion of the application using the current handbook and criteria, but had planned to submit after July 1, we are happy to work with you.

    It is not our intent to require a unit to rewrite significant portions of the application, and we can work together to determine the least burdensome option for your application submission.
  • If you’ve just started developing your application or had planned on starting soon:

    Continue documenting the key points for each of your responses if your unit is in the early stages of developing the application.

    You will have a jump start on completing the application. The information you are preparing will be equally relevant for the updated criteria.

Special Information for Units Applying for Redesignation

To redesignate, your unit will need to complete the full Beacon application. Since we do not compare your old application to the new one, it is strongly recommended that in addition to answering the criteria questions you call out the changes implemented since your last application.

By submitting your redesignation application before your expiration date you will ensure that your designation remains effective until your new application is reviewed and you are notified of the outcome. Therefore your designation will not lapse due to any processing or review delays.

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