Valley Children’s Pediatric ICU Receives Prestigious Beacon Award

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Valley Children’s Hospital has once again earned the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

This marks Valley Children’s third Beacon, which the AACN created to challenge acute and critical care nurses to improve the care provided to some of the most critically ill patients.

“The PICU is an amazing team of individuals, working in collaboration to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” PICU and Transport Director Denise Johnson, BSN, RN said in a statement. “The kids count on us to do everything we can to fight for their future and to send them home happy and healthy. Receiving this award just reminds us why we do what we do every day.”

The Beacon Award recognizes the achievements of critical care teams in several areas, including professional practice, patient outcomes and work environments. Beacon provides the means for hospital units to measure themselves against high-quality standards based on national criteria. Organizations that meet or exceed these standards are regarded as leaders in nursing.

“Nursing is an integral part of the care team,” said Beverly Hayden-Pugh, Valley Children’s senior vice president of clinical operations, and chief nursing officer. “I am so proud of the entire team. The nurses’ professionalism and commitment to their patients drive them every single day and this recognition is well deserved.”

Earlier this year, Valley Children’s Hospital ranked in the top 10 percent of all hospitals in the country in preventing one of the most common types of healthcare-related infections. Valley Children’s marked one full year without a Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI), eliminating a harmful and often painful complication for patients.

An interdisciplinary team of pediatric specialists, nurses and infection prevention experts at Valley Children’s began working toward eliminating CAUTIs throughout the Hospital. They started in the Pediatric ICU – where most of those events were identified – due to the large number of patients who needed catheters. The team implemented an “evidence-based prevention bundle.” Patients with catheters are evaluated daily to determine whether the device is still medically necessary. The team of physicians and staff follows a set of safety measures each and every day aimed at reducing the risk for infection. As soon they determine the catheter is not needed, they remove it.

“The PICU-led initiative to reduce CAUTIs is one example of how that team puts the health and wellbeing of our children first,” said Dr. David Christensen, Valley Children’s senior vice president of medical affairs, and chief medical officer. “The level of collaboration between our physicians and nurses is the highest I have ever seen. That strong, interprofessional partnership leads to outstanding care and our CAUTI rate is one example of that.”

This is another national award for Valley Children’s. It was the first pediatric hospital west of the Rockies to receive the Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), with three consecutive designations beginning in 2004. The ANCC continues to recognize Valley Children’s for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Valley Children’s remains in an elite group of less than 7 percent of hospitals nationwide to receive this designation.