The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently conferred a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) on the York Street Campus. In November, shortly after its integration into Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Surgical Step-down Unit on the Saint Raphael Campus received a bronze-level Beacon Award for Excellence.
"This is the first time that the Yale-New Haven Hospital has had two units which have been honored with this important national recognition," said Sue Fitzsimons, RN, PhD, senior vice president, Patient Services. "The Beacon Award for Excellence confirms the exceptional work and quality outcomes our nurses achieve for patients." The Beacon Award recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN's standards for a healthy work environment. Units that earn this three-year award meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.
The Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Surgical Step-down Unit were chosen from intensive care units and step-down units throughout the United States. The AACN judged recipients on the following metrics: outcomes; evidence-based practice; physician/nurse engagement; leadership; performance improvement; teamwork. When it applied for the Beacon Award, the 14-bed CICU on York Street submitted some of the areas it was working on to improve outcomes and patient experience. They included a project to improve ambulating patients with catheters; its palliative care and comfort care quilt program; and creating a healing environment that supports patient- and family-centered care.
When the 24-bed Cardiac Step-down Unit on the Saint Raphael Campus (SLA 2) applied for the Beacon Award in 2012, it was still part of the Hospital of Saint Raphael. AACN announced that SLA 2 was a bronze-level winner in November, two months after its integration with Yale-New Haven had begun.
When SLA 2 applied for the Beacon Award, the unit demonstrated how its change to best practice post-cardiothoracic wound care had improved patient outcomes.
"The nurses and staff on these intensive care and step-down units care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families," said Fitzsimons. "It takes a high degree of caring and competence to not only do this well but to keep pushing the boundaries of excellence. It's quite an achievement to have two units currently identified by the Beacon Award for excellence in practice."