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National award recognizes expert care for critically ill and injured children

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses honors Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital with Silver-level Beacon Award.

Jacksonville, FL —

In recognition of the compassionate and quality care provided by the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) team at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), Aliso Viejo, California, recently awarded the unit with its prestigious Silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence.

The three-year Beacon Award for Excellence – a significant milestone on the path 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:

  • Skilled communication
  • True collaboration
  • Effective decision-making
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Authentic leadership

The Wolfson Children’s Hospital Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) received the Silver-level Beacon Award in 2021.

Nicole Lanier, MS-HSA, BSN, RN, C-NPT, nurse manager of the PICU, said, “Our nurses went into pediatric health care to make a difference in the lives of children and families every day. In the PICU, they care for the sickest and most seriously injured children in the hospital, and they continuously rise to the occasion to give these patients the best chance at living longer, healthier lives.”

The Wolfson Children’s PICU is located on the sixth floor of the new Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower. Open-concept workstations on the unit allow for collaboration among physicians, nurses and other caregivers. Nurses’ stations are strategically positioned outside pods of four rooms, allowing nurses to view their assigned patients at all times.

Some patients in the Wolfson Children’s PICU come via the Emergency Room or Kids Kare Critical Care Transport due to severe breathing problems, serious infections, heart conditions or traumatic injuries. Others are recovering from surgery and require specialized care. The PICU requires a higher nurse-to-patient ratio than anywhere else in the hospital, and each patient is continuously monitored from a central location. Patients in the PICU have access to advanced life support technology, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices.

The PICU team is comprised of pediatric critical care physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, child life specialists, and chaplains.

“Our collaborative approach to multidisciplinary care in the PICU ensures decisions are made with the input of experts in their respective fields,” said Thomas Nakagawa, MD, a pediatric critical care physician with the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, who serves as medical director of the Wolfson Children’s PICU. “We would not be able to provide this high level of care without each member of this multidisciplinary team.”

AACN President Beth Wathen, MSN, APRN, CCRN-K, applauds the commitment of the caregivers in the PICU at Wolfson Children’s for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence. These dedicated health care professionals join other members of an exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence is a testament to a team’s commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care to patients and families. Creating healthy and supportive work environments empowers nurses and other team members to make their optimal contribution,” Wathen explained. “Achieving this award is an honor that brings such joy to those who have worked so hard to achieve excellence in patient care and positive patient outcomes.”

The Silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by the PICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital 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 Wolfson Children’s PICU 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 and Learning and Development
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Outcome Measurement