Beacon Award for Excellence Application Process

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AACN created the Beacon Award for Excellence to recognize individual units that distinguish themselves by improving every facet of patient care. Your unit is taking an important first step on this journey by pursuing a Beacon Award.

To successfully complete the Beacon Award application, please do the following:

  1. Read the entire handbook
  2. Complete your application
  3. Submit your application

Part I — Writing Your Application

Whether you are applying for designation or redesignation, the application and submission process is the same. All applications must be submitted on the Beacon Award application templatePlease be sure to follow these instructions:

  • Do not edit or alter the Beacon Award application. Your response to each criteria question can be entered on the application.
  • Pay special attention to the following:
    • The Beacon Award application has been formatted at a size 10.
    • Including the pages of the application, the maximum length is 52 pages including the title page and instruction page.
    • Only the first 52 pages will be reviewed if the application exceeds 52 pages.
    • The document must not exceed 15 mb.
  • If the unit uses an abbreviation or acronym, it must be spelled out the first time it is used. Do not include patient- or employee-specific information.
  • If confidential information is included in the application, all identifying details must be removed.
  • Once completed you will upload your saved document during the online submission process.
Online Submission Process

To begin, sign in with your member or customer ID number.  You will be guided through the steps in the online submission process.

Caution: The online submission process must be completed in one session from start to finish. Do not start the online submission process until you have the demographic information listed below* and your Beacon Award application is complete. The online submission process should take approximately 15-30 minutes.

There are seven steps in the online submission process:

  1. Enter your hospital information.
  2. Enter unit name and address.
  3. Enter facility and unit information.*
  4. Enter primary and secondary contact information.
  5. Upload your complete application.
  6. Submit application.
  7. Submit payment.

*During the online submission process, you will be asked for the following data about your hospital and unit. We collect this information to better understand the environment of applicants and make comparisons between groups. Be sure to obtain the information specified below before you start the online submission.

  • Unit type.
  • Type of facility.
  • Number of beds in unit.
  • Number of operating beds in institution.
  • Does your hospital currently have Magnet Hospital designation?
  • Has your hospital received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award?
  • Is your hospital a participant in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI)?
  • Number of RN staff in unit (individuals not FTEs).
  • How many nurses in your unit are currently certified in specialty practice by AACN, ANCC or another national nursing organization? (Please do not include American Heart Association competencies, such as CPR, ACLS or PALS, and do not include internal hospital certifications.)
  • Unit and hospital name for promotional/recognition purposes, if different than original unit and hospital name.

Online Submission Policies

  • The online submission process is final.
    • Once the application is submitted, we do not accept changes, additions or deletions.
  • You may pay the $1,750 Beacon Award application fee online via credit card.
    • Once the credit card is authorized, a receipt will be emailed to you.
  • If you choose to pay with a check, you will be prompted to print your invoice.
    • Mail the invoice and check to AACN.
    • Applications are not processed until payment is received.