Swedish/First Hill ICU Wins Prestigious National Award for Excellence

Swedish/First Hill ICU Wins Prestigious National Award for Excellence

SEATTLE, May 22, 2009 – The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Swedish Medical Center's First Hill Campus was recently recognized as one of the nation's top critical-care units by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The AACN Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence is presented twice yearly to the pediatric, progressive and adult critical-care units that demonstrate excellence in a number of specific areas. Since 2004, the award's inaugural year, less than 150 of 6,000 critical-care units in the United States have received this recognition.

"The Beacon Award is a tribute to the First Hill ICU's nursing staff and speaks to the culture of quality improvement and patient safety among our nurses," said Curtis Veal, M.D., Swedish's medical director of Critical Care and eICU. "This is very much a self-directed award, as the ICU nurses did all of the work on the application. They are to be congratulated – it's quite an honor. And it is a privilege to have them as colleagues."

The Beacon Award is linked to patient safety initiatives. It recognizes critical-care units for exhibiting the highest quality standards in nurse recruitment and retention; staff training, leadership and mentoring; patient outcomes; organization ethics; and providing a healing environment. Specific criteria include:

  • Recognized excellence in the intensive-care environments in which nurses work and critically ill patients are cared for
  • Recognized excellence of the highest quality measures, processes, structures and outcomes based upon evidence
  • Recognized excellence in collaboration, communication and partnerships that support the value of healing and humane environments
  • Developing a program that contributes to actualization of AACN's mission, vision and values

Lizette Vasquez, R.N., B.S.N., and Linda Dooley, R.N., C.C.R.N., led the First Hill ICU application process. They were assisted by many of the 74 nurses working on the 32-bed unit, including Talina Silbernagel, R.N., C.C.R.N., who played a key role in the award application process.

"When you are in the trenches, you sometimes can't see the impact you're making," said Dooley, one of 25 nurses who has worked on the unit for 20 or more years. "This award shows our ICU nurses – and the community – what a really great job they are doing."

About the AACN

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, representing the interests of more than 500,000 acute- and critical-care nurses. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the association has more than 240 chapters worldwide. For more information, visit www.aacn.org

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