Hershey Medical Center’s nurses honored as ‘Beacon of Excellence’

It takes heart, soul, perseverance and empathy to care for critically ill patients. The nurses in the Surgical Anesthesia Intensive Care Unit (SAICU) at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center have been honored for those qualities by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The Silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes critical care units for exceptional patient care and healthy work environments.

SAICU’s Beacon brings the total to four Beacon Awards for critical care units at the Medical Center, a significant accomplishment. The award is presented at three levels: gold, silver, and bronze. The AACN has presented 36 Beacons to critical care units in Pennsylvania since the award began in 2003. SAICU joins the Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit as a Silver Beacon Unit. The Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and Heart and Vascular Progressive Care Unit obtained the Gold Beacon designation.

“What makes the Beacon Award so unique,” explained Judy Himes, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, “is how the application process is driven by the nursing staff. Long and complex, the application takes many hours to complete and, 'recognizes excellence for nursing care that results in positive patient outcomes.'”

To win a Beacon, a hospital unit must meet the AACN’s defined criteria in six 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.

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Last Updated February 28, 2018