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UCI Health intensive care units honored with Beacon Award for Excellence

Critical care recognition reflects longstanding commitment to highest nursing standards

January 27, 2022

The surgical and neuroscience intensive care units at UCI Medical Center have earned the silver Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments — recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this designation meet national criteria consistent with the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

This is the third consecutive Beacon Award for the surgical ICU and the second consecutive award for the neuroscience ICU.

“Throughout the pandemic, our ICU nurses have cared for the sickest of the sick,” said UCI Health Chief Nursing Executive Brooke Baldwin. “They continue to come to work each day to provide our patients with the highest quality care possible. I’m incredibly proud of their dedication to our patients, our community and each other.”

AACN President Beth Wathen, MSN, APRN, CCRN-K, 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.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence is a testament to a team’s commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care to patients and families," Wathen explained. "Creating healthy and supportive work environments empowers nurses and other team members to make their optimal contribution..Achieving this award is an honor that brings such joy to those who have worked so hard to achieve excellence in patient care and positive patient outcomes.”

Orange County’s only academic health system, UCI Health has a longstanding tradition of nursing excellence. 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. Other achievements include:

  • Last year, UCI Medical Center’s inpatient acute care surgery units earned the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from AACN in recognition of its exceptional patient care and healthy work environment.
  • In December 2019, UCI Medical Center’s burn ICU earned the gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from AACN. 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 as providing the highest level of care for patients with all types of burns, ranging from mild to severe and life-threatening.

The silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence signifies that a unit has an effective approach to policies, procedures and processes that includes engaging with staff and key stakeholders. It also has evaluation and improvement strategies in place and good performance measures when compared to relevant benchmarks. UCI Medical Center’s ICUs earned the silver award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management and 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. 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, Calif., AACN is the world's largest specialty nursing organization. It represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 U.S. chapters. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families, one in which acute and critical care nurses make optimal contributions. 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

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. 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 459-bed acute-care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, 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. 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, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.