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Five NY/NJ units celebrate national Beacon awards

The Beacon Award for Excellence is a prime achievement for any hospital unit and its nurses. But by no means is it a final stop.
“The Beacon award refers to a journey of excellence,” said Deborah Ford-Thomson, RN, NICU nurse manager, St. Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J. “Quality care is ongoing, and the NICU is continually evaluating its processes and practices.”
Beacon awards at gold, silver and bronze levels from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses celebrate hospital units that employ evidence-based practices to improve patient and family outcomes, according to an AACN news release. Recipients perform at levels consistent with national awards including Magnet recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and National Quality Healthcare Award, the release said.
In 2014, 72 units at 60 hospitals earned Beacon awards, including five in the New York/New Jersey Metro area. They were honored May 18-21 during the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in San Diego.
Locally, the coronary care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, cardiac catheterization lab at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Manhattan, and the third-floor ICU at White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital earned silver-level awards. Also winning silver designation were the med/surg ICU at Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center and the NICU at St. Peter’s.
“Winning the Beacon award is a huge honor,” said Kristin Ospina, MSN, RN, PCCN, CCRN, ICU/MICU manager at Morristown. “Being a four-time designated Magnet hospital and having achieved Beacon status six consecutive times in our ICU shows that our nurses are top-notch.”
The Beacon process requires both outstanding outcomes and plans of action.
“We had to demonstrate great patient care outcomes,” said Jennifer Bello, BSN, RN, ICU nurse manager, White Plains. “We also had to supply action plans. We had two falls in the ICU in 2013, so we supplied data for the action plan we put in place to prevent them from happening, and since then we’ve had zero falls.”
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, M. Alcina Fonseca, MS, MBA, RN, NE-BC, patient care director for the cath lab/EP lab, said units are rated on leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication; knowledge management and best practices; evidence-based practice and processes; and patient outcomes.
“In addition to excelling in these areas, the cath lab/EP lab staff care for some of the most complex patients in the nation,” Fonseca said. “It is the teamwork that exists across disciplines that allows us to be successful and contributes to achieving great outcomes.”
Teamwork and quality care can include going an extra mile in interactions with patients and their families. At Mount Sinai, that includes extra effort for special events.
“The CCU nursing staff treats patients and their family members as one of their own,” said Kathleen Diatta, PhD, RN, clinical nurse manager, CCU. “They put together a wedding for a patient and his longtime girlfriend in less than 24 hours, including a photographer, guests, wedding cake, gift and a wedding crasher. They pray with patients and family members, they swap stories, they laugh and joke and sometimes even cry with patients and their family members.”
And while awards are in hand, the journey continues for the Beacon facilities and their nurses.
“Regardless of us getting this Beacon award, we care 100% for our patients and their outcomes,” Bello said. “This solidifies that we give excellent care in our [ICU]. It really makes me feel proud and solidifies that they are a great team and that they can’t do it alone. We have to do it together.”
Freelance writer Joe Stevenson contributed to this report.

By | 2015-07-01T12:16:14-04:00 July 1st, 2015|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro|0 Comments

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Barry Bottino
Barry Bottino is a freelance writer and editor who has more than 25 years of experience at various newspapers and magazines.

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