The Beacon Award for Excellence

For patients and their families, the Beacon Award signifies exceptional care in a unit that puts patients first. For nurses, this award can mean a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration, higher morale and lower turnover.

The Beacon Award program comprises three distinct modules: Patient Outcomes, Work Environment and Nursing Workforce. While units must complete all three modules to be eligible for the Beacon Award, a unit may still receive recognition for top-tier performance at the module level even if only one module is completed.

  • Who Can Apply?

  • Why Strive for Beacon

  • What Is the Value?

  • Any unit who can respond to the required criteria elements can participate in the Beacon Award program. We encourage units to participate in any module for which the required data can be provided. Units must apply individually. If a hospital has multiple units seeking this designation, each unit must submit an application.
  • AACN membership is not required for a unit to apply.

Applying for the award allows units to showcase how nurses make their optimal contributions through:

  • Ensuring quality, safety and satisfaction
  • Creating a healthy work environment
  • Developing skills and competencies

The Beacon Award program provides unique recognition and data unlike other award programs because it is unit-based. Through the Beacon journey, units can measure and improve patient outcomes, unit culture, staffing and credibility with consumers - all while keeping hospital resources and the current healthcare environment in mind. AACN’s Beacon Award for Excellence offers units:

  • Recognition of excellence from AACN
  • Benchmark data for measuring continual improvement
  • Actionable feedback and resources to address challenges

Award Criteria

Beacon awardees set the standard for excellence in patient care environments. The award highlights caregivers in units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care and unit and hospital culture optimizes outcomes.

To be eligible to receive the Beacon Award, a unit must report defined criteria in the following program modules:

  • Patient Outcomes
  • Work Environment
  • Nursing Workforce

Information Sessions

Sign up for one of our live virtual information sessions where a Beacon team member gives an overview of the award application process and answers any of your questions.

Annual Application Cycle

To provide units with the most current and relevant benchmark data (compiled specifically from units across the country), Beacon is awarded annually. This allows AACN to provide units with a quantifiable comparison of performance against other units that submit module data.

Find a Beacon Unit

Beacon awardees set the standard for excellence in the patient care environment by using innovation and implementation science to improve patient outcomes. Find a Beacon unit in your region.