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American Association of Critical-Care Nurses recognizes NICU at Saint Peter’s with silver Beacon Award for Excellence
Story Number is : 070217107
Saint Peter’s University Hospital

Nurses Sharon Williams and Dolly Allen are members of the award-winning Saint Peter’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has again bestowed a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence in Nursing Care on the Saint Peter’s NICU nursing team. Saint Peter’s was the first NICU in New Jersey to receive the Beacon Award.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), Aliso Viejo, Calif., has conferred a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. The Saint Peter’s NICU was the first such unit ever cited in New Jersey for critical care excellence in the delivery of neonatal intensive care nursing.

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone on the pathway to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments — recognizes unit caregivers 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 a gold, silver or bronze designation meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence is a testament to the extensive training, expertise and patient-centered care that are the hallmarks of our nurses at Saint Peter’s,” said Mark Hiatt, MD, director of neonatology at Saint Peter’s NICU. “As one of the East Coast’s largest NICUs, Saint Peter’s also strives to be the best. We are appreciative and proud of earning this recognition.”

AACN President Clareen Wiencek, RN, PhD, ACNP, ACHPN, applauds the commitment of the caregivers at the NICU at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence. These dedicated healthcare 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,” Wiencek said. “Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care.”

The silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by the NICU at Saint Peter’s signifies continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. The Saint Peter’s NICU 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
• Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
• Outcome Measurement

Other Beacon Award designations include bronze and gold. Recipients who earned a bronze-level award show success in developing, deploying and integrating unit-based performance criteria for optimal outcomes; gold-level awardees demonstrate excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.

AACN honors the NICU at Saint Peter’s and other Beacon Award for Excellence recipients with announcements in AACN Bold Voices, the monthly award-winning member magazine distributed to more than 100,000 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.

About the Beacon Award for Excellence
Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence offers a road map to help guide exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. U.S. or Canadian units where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission qualify for this excellence award. Units that receive the Beacon Award for Excellence meet criteria in six categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. To learn more, visit or call (800) 899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurse
Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. To learn more about AACN, visit, connect with the organization on Facebook at or follow AACN on Twitter at

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