The critical care nursing team in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital were recently awarded with the gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence, the highest level of recognition available from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization.

The award is presented to unit staff who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver or bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet® Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“It is exciting to have our PICU nursing team recognized for the amazing work they do,” says Jody Kurtt, MA, RN, NEA-BC, CPNP, director of nursing and patient care services at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “Our nurses are dedicated to providing excellent, evidenced-based care for our pediatric patients and their families. To have the PICU team awarded Beacon Gold by AACN and their peers across the country is an incredible honor.  Our children’s hospital is grateful for all they do every day in caring for kids and their families.” 

“We are grateful each day to work alongside our colleagues across many disciplines to seek new and improved ways of communicating, engaging patients and families in their treatment plan, and collaborating to provide safe, high-quality care in the PICU,” says Jennifer Erdahl, MSN, RN CCRN, nurse manager of the PICU.  “Our team is honored to receive the Gold Beacon recognition.”

The gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by PICU at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital signifies an effective and systematic approach to policies, procedures and processes that include engagement of staff and key stakeholders; fact-based evaluation strategies for continuous process improvement; and performance measures that meet or exceed relevant benchmarks. PICU at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital earned a gold 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