In 2019, 195 Hospital Units Receive Beacon Awards

Feb 19, 2020

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Units at 126 hospitals receive Beacon Awards for Excellence in 2019 for demonstrating evidence-based practice to improve patient, family outcomes

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Feb. 18, 2020 –The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recognized 195 units from 126 hospitals that earned the Beacon Award for Excellence between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019. View recipient list.

The Beacon Award for Excellence lauds hospital units that employ evidence-based practices to improve patient and family outcomes. The award provides gold, silver and bronze levels of recognition to hospital units that exemplify excellence in professional practice, and patient care and outcomes. Recognition is for a three-year term.

AACN Immediate Past President Megan Brunson, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN-CSC, praises the exemplary efforts of the unit caregivers who achieved the Beacon Award for Excellence. She has been the night shift supervisor in the cardiovascular ICU at Medical City Dallas Hospital since 2007.

“I know firsthand the impact the journey toward Beacon recognition can have on a unit, after my own unit became the first in our hospital to receive a Beacon award last year. The award truly demonstrates our commitment to work together to achieve healthy work environments that support excellent care of patients and their families,” Brunson said. “Our experience aligns with the findings from AACN’s most recent survey of critical care nurses that nurses who work in Beacon units (and in units in the process of obtaining Beacon recognition) reported healthier work environments, were more satisfied in their current positions, and were less likely to plan to leave the organization.”

Beacon-designated units meet criteria in five categories, all of which are consistent with other national awards, including Magnet® recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Forum’s Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality awards. Units that receive the Beacon Award demonstrate practices that align with AACN’s Healthy Work Environment standards.

Recipients of a gold-level Beacon Award demonstrate staff-driven excellence in sustained unit performance and improved patient outcomes that exceed national benchmarks. Silver-level recipients demonstrate continual learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. Bronze-level awardees demonstrate success in developing, deploying and integrating unit-based performance criteria for optimal outcomes.

In all, 40 units received gold-level Beacon awards, the award’s highest distinction. Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, each had two units recognized with gold-level awards. In addition, St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York, received two gold-level and two silver-level Beacon awards.

A total of 37 hospitals had multiple units honored with an award in 2019, demonstrating excellence in caring for acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

In Rochester, New York, Rochester General Hospital ended the year with 13 of its units achieving Beacon status, with one gold, 11 silver and one bronze-level recognition. Nearby, University of Rochester’s UR Medicine also received one gold and one silver award. In addition, two other Rochester hospitals — Strong Memorial Hospital and Unity Hospital Rochester Regional Health — had two units recognized with silver-level awards. In all, 33 units at 13 New York hospitals reached Beacon status in 2019, the most for any state.

Learn more about the Beacon Award for Excellence, and read about one unit’s Beacon journey in the Your Stories section of the AACN website.

About the Beacon Award for Excellence: Established in 2003, AACN’s award recognizes top hospital units that meet standards of excellence in recruitment and retention; education, training and mentoring; research and evidence-based practice; patient outcomes; leadership and organizational ethics; and creation of a healthy work environment. Award criteria — which measure systems, outcomes and environments against evidence-based national criteria for excellence — provide a mechanism to initiate patient safety efforts. To learn more about the award, visit or call 800-899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656;949-362-2000;;;