NEWS | December 14, 2012

National nursing association honors MSICU with award of excellence


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently conferred a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence on the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU) at UC Davis Medical Center.

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and a healthy work environment — recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six standards for a healthy work environment. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver and bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

Key achievements cited by the MSICU team in its application for the Beacon Award included:

  • Leadership in helping patients regain mobility — The MSICU’s Unit Based Practice Council created the “Mobil Me” program, an evidence-based project that used a literature review and consultations with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to create a class to educate nurses on the importance of ICU patients gaining early mobility. The training helped MSICU nurses feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about performing range-of-motion exercises with their patients and helping them improve their mobility.
  • Piloting use of barcoding program for administering medications — The MSICU was the pilot unit for UC Davis Medical Center’s Barcoding Medication Administration Pilot Project. Using barcoding equipment, nurses and respiratory therapists will scan the barcode on all medications dispensed by hospital pharmacists and match that data against the medication information contained in the patient's EMR, and on the patient's wristband. The MSICU was instrumental in the medical center’s eventual hospital-wide rollout of the program in October.

AACN President Kathryn E. Roberts praised the commitment of the caregivers at the medical center’s MSICU for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence. Roberts said the MSICU’s health-care professionals join other members of the exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as a role model to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” Roberts said.

The silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by the MSICU signifies continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. The MSICU earned its 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, Learning and Development, Best Practices
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Patient Outcomes

AACN honors the MSICU and other Beacon Award for Excellence recipients with an announcement in AACN Bold Voices, the monthly award-winning member magazine distributed to more than 90,000 acute and critical care nurses nationwide. AACN also honors awardees at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

UC Davis Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center where clinical practice, teaching and research converge to advance human health. Centers of excellence include the National Cancer Institute-designated UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; the region's only Level 1 pediatric and adult trauma centers; the UC Davis MIND Institute, devoted to finding treatments and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders; and the UC Davis Children's Hospital. The medical center serves a 33-county, 65,000-square-mile area that stretches north to the Oregon border and east to Nevada. It further extends its reach through the award-winning telemedicine program, which gives remote, medically underserved communities throughout California unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty care. For more information, visit