UCI Health acute care surgery units honored with Beacon Award for Excellence

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has recognized numerous UCI Health nursing units in recent years

July 02, 2021

UCI Medical Center’s inpatient acute care surgery units have earned the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) in recognition of its exceptional patient care and healthy work environment.

The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards.

“The acute surgery units are committed to establishing a supportive and positive work environment,” said Brooke Baldwin, DNP, RN, chief nursing executive, UCI Health. “Nurse manager Thao Vo and the acute care nursing teams demonstrate their dedication to patients every day — they richly deserve this recognition.”

The Beacon Award reflects how collaboratively our teams work together to improve care practices to promote quality, patient-centered care and outcomes, Baldwin said.

The state-of-the-science units in UCI Medical Center’s Douglas Hospital are equipped with the most advanced monitoring equipment to ensure that each patient receives the best possible care.

AACN President Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, applauds the commitment of the caregivers at UCI Health for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence.

“These dedicated healthcare professionals join other members of our exceptional community of nurses, who set the standard for optimal patient care,” Bridges said.

UCI health has a longstanding tradition of nursing excellence.

In December 2019, UCI Medical Center’s burn intensive care unit earned the gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from AACN.  The state-of-the-art unit is dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients through advanced surgical techniques, innovative synthetic skin treatments and expert care.

It is one of the few burn centers in the nation — and the only one in Orange County — to be verified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association to provide the highest level of care for patient with all kinds of burns, from mild to severe and life-threatening.

In July 2018, UCI Medical Center’s surgical intensive care unit earned its second gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from AACN. The unit was first recognized as a gold-level Beacon Award recipient in 2015 and, at the time, was the only surgical ICU in California and one of only 11 in the United States to have achieved the gold-level award. Many surgical ICU nurses hold advanced specialty certifications, including recognition as Certified Critical Care Registered Nurses.

In February 2018, AACN recognized three intensive care units at UCI Medical Center with the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence: neurosciences, cardiac care and medical intensive care units. Recipients who earn silver-level award demonstrate continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care.

In 2003, UCI Health became one of the nation’s first university-affiliated medical centers to achieve Magnet Recognition from the American Nurse's Credentialing Center, widely considered the gold standard for nursing excellence. UCI Medical Center was the first Magnet hospital in Orange County and the third in California.

The silver-level Beacon Award signifies an effective approach to policies, procedures and processes that includes engagement of staff and key stakeholders. UCI Medical Center’s acute care surgery units earned this designation by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria:

  • Leadership structures and systems
  • Appropriate staffing and staff engagement
  • Effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development
  • Evidence-based practice and processes
  • Outcome measurement

About the Beacon Award for Excellence: Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence offers a road map to help guide exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. U.S. and Canadian units where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission qualify for this excellence award. Units that receive the Beacon Award for Excellence meet criteria in six categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, and learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. To learn more, visit www.aacn.org/beacon or call 800-899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. To learn more about AACN, visit www.aacn.org, connect with the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aacnface or follow AACN on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aacnme.

About UCI Health: UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 418-bed acute-care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 20 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, outpatient and specialty medical clinics, as well as behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. It is the primary teaching hospital for the UCI School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.