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Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Earns Beacon Award for Excellence

Children's Hospital Central California achieves gold-level recognition 


The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s Hospital Central California earned the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Less than a dozen PICUs nationwide and only three PICUs within the state of California have received this designation.

Beacon Award“Each member of this great team should be proud of the work they do every day to better the lives of critically ill children,” said PICU Director Kara Shorb. “I commend them for this honored achievement and am pleased to acknowledge our PICU team as a leader in critical-care nursing.”

The Beacon is awarded at bronze, silver and gold levels. Children’s received gold – the highest level of success – demonstrating sustained excellence in unit performance and patient outcomes. “We have 140 people on our PICU team,” said Shorb. “With this award they’re receiving recognition for the work they do every day with the highest standards of professional practice.”

“I applaud our PICU team for the level of work, commitment and dedication that goes into achieving and sustaining this level of excellence in unit performance and outcomes,” said Beverly Hayden-Pugh, vice president and chief nursing officer, Children’s Hospital. “They truly are amazing people providing incredible care.”

Reviewers specifically noted a number of outstanding processes successfully implemented throughout the PICU, including:

  • the participatory governance structure, which supports a culture of inquiry
  • the collaborative operational/practice model, which advances interdisciplinary accountability
  • the practice of assigning a primary-care nurse to long-term patients, which promotes continuity of care

“It is an honor to be awarded the gold-level Beacon award,” said Hayden-Pugh. “It symbolizes an elite level of care our kids and families can expect.”

Children’s Hospital was first recognized with the Beacon Award for Excellence in January 2010. Shorb and her team submitted their application for a second Beacon in September 2012 and received notification of the impressive designation in April 2013.

“It’s a lengthy application process,” said Shorb. “It involves an intense and detailed report that contains about 50 pages of evidence. It takes over seven months after submission to hear back from the AACN.”

The award recognizes excellence for a period of three years and will expire April 2016. In order to remain a Beacon unit, the PICU will need to reapply for the distinction prior to that date. “The team will begin working on the reapplication process by the end of this year,” added Shorb.