You and your unit strive to provide the best patient care every day. The Beacon Award for Excellence honors individual units that distinguish themselves by improving every facet of patient care.

Why Strive for a Beacon Award?

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Influence & Recognition
Beacon awardees set the standard for excellence in patient care environments by collecting and using evidence-based information to improve patient outcomes, patient and staff satisfaction, and credibility with consumers.
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Recruitment & Retention

A Beacon Award signifies a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover. The process can be driven by the nursing staff; nurturing empowerment and leadership.

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Tools to Measure Progress
Following a multilevel peer-reviewed evaluation, your unit will receive a comprehensive feedback report, which includes strengths and opportunities for improvement, to chart the excellence journey over time.

Application Process

  • 1Read the entire handbook. Be sure to understand key terms and review the scoring guidelines. The Beacon Award audit tool, mock application and other resources can prepare you to begin your journey.

  • 2Prepare your application using the Beacon Award application following AACN’s application writing guidelines (Part I).

  • 3Once you have written your application (Part I), begin the online submission process (Part II). You do not need to be a member to apply.

Ready to get started?
Read more on writing and submitting your application.

Beacon Resources and Tools

To help your unit develop a strong application, review the resources and tools for additional guidance and instructions.

Who Can Apply for a Beacon Award?

  • Any unit where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission is eligible.
  • A unit must meet defined criteria in the following categories: Leadership Structures and Systems; Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement; Effective Communication, Knowledge Management and Learning Development; Evidence-Based Practice and Processes; and Outcome Measurements.
  • Units must apply individually. If a hospital has multiple units seeking designation, each unit must submit an application.
  • AACN membership is not required for a unit to apply.

Beacon Posters

Are you interested in learning how Beacon designated units embrace the journey to excellence? Beacon posters share how units have improved processes and achieved improved outcomes.