Rhoads-5-Gold-BeaconIn2005, the Rhoads 5 SICU was HUP’s first intensive care unit to receive theBeacon Award, given forexcellence in critical-care units.  Sincethen, six more of HUP’s intensive care and progressive care units have earnedthis prestigious recognition, joining a select group. Fewer than three percentof ICUs in this country have received the Beacon recognition.

In 2010, the American Association ofCritical-Care Nurses, which awards the Beacon, updated the criteria to threeascending levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Rhoads 5 SICU once again ledthe way, becoming one of currently only 10ICUs in the country to attain the Gold status. “This outstanding achievement clearly demonstrates the unit’srelentless pursuit of excellence,” said PaulHarrington, MSN, MBA,  clinicaldirector, Surgical & Cardiovascular Nursing.

Nurse managerGeorge Iyoob, BSN, MHA,attributes the consistentrecognition – it’s the unit’s fifth Beacon -- to its healthy work environmentand strong collaborative approach to patient care. “It’s a team effort – notjust clinical nurses but CNAs, secretaries, respiratory therapists,pharmacists, fellows, physicians, nurse practitioners, EVS.… Good people createa good culture.” 

Critical-care units are judged in several specific areasfor Beacon recognition: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffingand staff engagement; communication; knowledge management and best practices;evidence-based practices and processes; and patient outcomes. According toassistant nurse manager Sebastian Ramagnano, BSN, BS,  “A unit needs strengths in every Beaconcategory to create this culture of excellence.”

Beacon-awardOutcomes is anespecially important category, said JulianeJablonski, MSN, CCNS, clinical nurse specialist. Beacon recognition is “definitely an outcome-orientedaward, not just the processes we use. They’re looking for sustainable outcomes,a continual process.”  

The unit’s‘Healthy Work Environment’ committee helps keep staff engaged and strengthensthe comradery from shared experiences on the ICU. Not surprisingly, the unithas a very low turnover rate “and it’s usually because of life changes orgetting a degree and moving on,” said Jablonski.

Iyoob alsocredits HUP’s Nursing leaders -- as well as Ben Kohn, MD and Neils Martin, MD(co-medical directors of the SICU) and Pat Reilly, MD, chief of Trauma -- forthe unit’s accomplishments. “They’re all incredibly supportive.”

“Rhoads 5 paved the way formany of our world-class units to receive Beacon status and was the first in Pennsylvania to obtain the Goldstatus,” said Victoria Rich, PhD, chief nurse executive, UPMC.  “That’swhat I define as the ‘best of the best.’”

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