What's New With the Beacon Award for Excellence?

Important Beacon Handbook Update

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

  • Leadership Structures and Systems.
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement.
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, Learning and Development and Best Practices.
  • Evidence-based Practice and Processes.
  • Outcome Measurement.

Here are the Changes

  • Open to all units: Any hospital unit (wherever a patient receives principal nursing care after hospital admission) that meets evidence-based standards of excellence and patient safety can apply.
    • In the past, only adult and pediatric critical care units and progressive care units were eligible. 
  • Status change: The Beacon Award will include three levels so that a unit can chart its excellence journey over time.
    • Bronze, silver and gold recipients receive a three-year designation.
  • Multiple program criteria: New criteria align closely with those of other programs — such as the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award, Magnet Recognition Program, the AACN Healthy Work Environment Standards and the National Quality Forum Safe Practices for Better Healthcare — making it easier when a hospital applies for multiple national recognition programs.
  • Review process: Applications are assigned to a panel of expert reviewers, trained in the criteria.
    • All of the information submitted in the application is completely confidential.
      • Every application receives a summary review with recommendations. 
    • Please refer to the Scoring Guidelines in the Beacon handbook.
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