Awards and Recognition

Circle of Excellence

Up to 25 AACN members who exemplify excellence in the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families will be chosen annually for a Circle of Excellence Award. Recipients will become part of the Circle of Excellence Society.

Flame of Excellence

The Flame of Excellence Award is a recognition that honors Circle of Excellence criteria at the highest level of sustained regional and national excellence. Flame of Excellence recipients consistently demonstrate outcomes associated with the award criteria at a high level and with broad reach.

Chapter Awards

AACN chapters that have made a difference in the healthcare profession and their communities are honored annually in various categories.

Visionary Leadership Awards

Annually AACN recognizes exemplary individuals for lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the healthcare profession, high acuity and critical care nursing and the mission of the association.

Distinguished Research Lectureship

Since 1982, AACN has honored a nationally known researcher to present the annual Distinguished Research Lecture at the National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition. The awardee is nationally recognized as a nurse researcher, known for publications, presentations, mentorship and consultation in research relevant to high acuity and critical care nursing and for significant contributions to acute and critical care research.

ICU Design Citation

The ICU Design Citation annually honors a critical care unit that successfully combines functional ICU design with the humanitarian delivery of critical care. The award is sponsored by Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American Institute of Architects Academy on Architecture for Health and AACN.

For applications and information about the ICU Design Citation, please contact Carol Prendergast at or (847) 827-6826.


The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a partnership with healthcare organizations to honor nurses for their clinical skill and especially the compassion they give to patients and families every day. An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, the DAISY Award began in 1999 in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.

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