American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Recognizes CVICU at ACH with Award for Excellence

LITTLE ROCK - The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) has been recognized with a Silver-Level Beacon Award for Excellence by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), distinguishing the unit's exceptional patient care and healthy work environments.

The CVICU, which provides comprehensive surgical and intensive care for Arkansas children with heart disease and defects, becomes the second unit at ACH to receive this national designation. The AACN recognized the ACH Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which cares for the state's most critically ill and injured children, with a Silver-Level Beacon Award in 2018. They are the only intensive care units in the state to be awarded this honor.

The Beacon Award for Excellence 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 CVICU is a component of the Heart Center at ACH, with two cardiovascular operating rooms, two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs, heart-lung bypass technology and outpatient services that include regional clinics. The Heart Center at ACH provides comprehensive congenital cardiac care for a lifetime, from fetal echo interpretation before a baby is born to full support for adults with congenital heart disease.

The Silver-Level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by Arkansas Children's Hospital's CVICU signifies an effective approach to policies, procedures and processes that includes engagement of staff and key stakeholders. The unit has evaluation and improvement strategies in place and good performance measures when compared to relevant benchmarks.

The CVICU at ACH earned its Silver-Level 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

The other Beacon Award designations are gold and bronze. Gold-level awardees demonstrate an effective and systematic approach to policies, procedures and processes that includes engagement of staff and key stakeholders; fact-based evaluation strategies for continuous process improvement; and performance measures that meet or exceed relevant benchmarks. Recipients who earn a bronze-level award are beginning the journey to excellence, which includes developing systematic policies, processes and procedures; identifying opportunities for staff participation; and recognizing the need to develop cycles of evaluation and improvement.