In 2020, 208 Hospital Units Receive Beacon Awards

Feb 17, 2021

Added to Collection

During COVID-19 pandemic, units at 149 hospitals receive Beacon Awards for Excellence in 2020 for demonstrating evidence-based practice to improve patient, family outcomes

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Feb. 17, 2021 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recognized 208 units from 149 hospitals that earned the Beacon Award for Excellence between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. 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 President Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, praises the exemplary efforts of the unit caregivers who achieved the Beacon Award for Excellence. “Receiving the Beacon Award for Excellence in the midst of a pandemic underscores these teams’ ongoing commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care to patients and families,” Bridges said. “This achievement is a tremendous honor to those who have worked so hard to achieve excellence in patient care and positive patient outcomes.”

Bridges is professor, biobehavioral nursing and health systems, at University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, and clinical nurse researcher at University of Washington Medical Center.

Beacon-designated units meet criteria in five categories, all of which are consistent with other national awards, including the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, 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 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, 45 units received gold-level Beacon awards, the award’s highest distinction. Among the 2020 recipients, Orlando Regional Medical Center had two units recognized with gold-level awards, in addition to five other units that received silver-level awards. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia had six units recognized with Beacon awards in 2020, with one gold-level award and four silver-level awards and one bronze-level award. The Cleveland Clinic received one gold-level award and four silver-level awards at its main campus, a gold-level award at its Fairview Hospital and a silver-level award at its Medina Hospital facility.

A total of 34 hospitals had multiple units honored with an award in 2020, demonstrating excellence in caring for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. In Rochester, New York, three hospitals added a total of 11 Beacon awards. Unity Hospital Rochester Regional Health had five units recognized with silver-level awards, while Rochester General Hospital ended the year with four of its units achieving Beacon status, with three silver and one bronze-level awards. Nearby Strong Memorial Hospital had two units recognized with silver-level awards. In all, 26 units at 15 New York hospitals attained Beacon status in 2020, 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 130,000 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;;;