The UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Pediatric ICU nursing team recently earned a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. A Beacon Award is a three-year designation recognizing nursing units that meet stringent criteria consistent with other well-respected honors.
“The nursing profession holds the Beacon Award among the most respected and celebrated awards for exceptional patient care,” said Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, UF Health Shands Hospital chief nursing officer and Nursing and Patient Services vice president. “We’re proud of the Pediatric ICU nursing staff for earning top-level gold recognition. It reflects their focus on quality outcomes, the highest standards of nursing practice and their shared commitment to serve young patients and families.”
The award also identifies healthy work environments that recognize unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN guidelines. Winning teams meet criteria for leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; and evidence-based practices and processes.
“The lay public doesn’t always understand why we choose to work with sick children. They perceive it to be hard, sad or tragic,” Missy Reynolds, M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC, said UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Pediatric ICU nurse manager. “While that is true at times, we understand that even though it is physically and emotionally taxing, the work is also filled with wonder, innocence and possibility. The gold Beacon Award is a marvelous affirmation of the PICU team’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”
UF Health Shands Hospital currently has five additional nursing units with active Beacon Awards for Excellence: the Cardiac ICU (gold), the Trauma/Lung Transplant Unit (gold), the Medical ICU (silver), the Neuro ICU (silver) and the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (bronze).
“The foundation of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is based on the quality, compassionate care we provide for our patients and families. Meeting the designated standards set for the gold Beacon Award is what the PICU team does on a daily basis,” said Dave Hudson, M.S.N., R.N., NEA-BC, UF Health Shands Hospital Nursing and Patient Services associate vice president. “We are fortunate to have such a dedicated team.”
UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez said, “The news of this award follows our recent celebrations for National Nurses Week, and it reinforces the high caliber of our skilled and experienced nursing staff. Our nurses continually receive national recognition for exceptional clinical results. The care and attention they provide every day is at the heart of our patients’ experience.”