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Christiana Care earns gold Beacon Award for Excellence

Friday December 13, 2013
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The Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex at Christiana Care in Wilmington, Del., earned a gold Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

“This outstanding achievement is an example of the CVCCC’s commitment to excellence in the many projects and initiatives they’ve undertaken to improve patient outcomes, including patient safety and overall patient and family satisfaction,” Diane Talarek, RN, MA, NE-BC, senior vice president of patient care services and CNO, said in a news release.

In its award announcement letter, the AACN cited the accomplishment as “one of many significant milestones on your unit’s journey to optimal outcomes and exceptional patient care.” Beacon awards are given at three levels: bronze, silver and gold. They are active for three years. To achieve the gold, according to the AACN, recipients must “demonstrate excellence in sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.”

The award caps a two-year effort to bring three units — Cardiac Medical Intensive Care, Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care and Open Heart Stepdown — together into one cohesive operation.

“In coming together, we had a picture in our mind of where we wanted to be,” Kirstan Baxter, RN, BSN, CCRN-CSC , nurse manager of the CVCCC, said in the release. Baxter said the staff did the legwork, setting up a shared governance system, adapting to changes in workflow and cross-training. Now, she said, “we have incredible teamwork. You can feel how dynamic it is when you walk in the door.”

The Beacon application process guided the successful merger of units, Kristen Koechert, RN, BSN, CCRN, chairwoman of the coordinating council that put the book-length application together, said in the release. “You have to identify the issue, plan the team, implement change and keep it going. The staff, the nurses, the unit clerks — everyone really embraced it. They wanted to be cohesive. I’m proud of the whole staff.”

Christiana Care’s medical ICU won a silver Beacon Award in 2012.


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