Christiana Care Health System’s Transitional Medical Unit (TMU) has earned a Bronze Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for excellence in professional nursing practice, optimal patient outcomes and exceptional experiences for critically ill patients and their families.

The critical care nurses on the 32-bed stepdown unit care for many of the health system’s most complex, medically fragile patients. The unit is the fourth at Christiana Care to earn a Beacon Award, joining the Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Critical Care Complex and Wilmington Intensive Care Unit.
The Beacon Award recognizes excellence in evidence-based processes and systems that serve patients and families. In addition, said TMU Nurse Manager Sonya Stover, MSN, RN, CCRN, NE-BC, the national honor celebrates the professional dedication the nursing team demonstrates going above and beyond to provide respectful, expert care.

“We help patients and their families deal with devastating diagnoses,” said Stover. “This type of nursing is emotionally difficult, and it is not for everyone. Our TMU nurses really love this work — and the value they bring to our patients and their families — and it shows naturally in the care they provide every day.”

AACN recognized the TMU for its leadership structure and systems, staff engagement, effectiveness in communication and knowledge-sharing, learning and development. Among the unit’s noted strengths were bedside shift reports and effective processes for patient transfer to and from the unit, safe medication practices, opportunities for professional growth and joint accountability for continuity of patient care through value improvement teams, patient-centered rounds and integration with service lines, committees and councils.

“Beacon signals excellence and the highest levels of nursing professionalism by the extraordinary nurses on our critical care units,” said Ric Cuming, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Christiana Care’s chief nurse executive. “This important national recognition is another indication that we serve together at Christiana Care, guided by our values of excellence and love.”

Established in 2003, AACN’s Beacon Award measures systems, outcomes and environments against evidence-based national criteria for excellence in patient safety and experience in categories consistent with Christiana Care’s other national honors including Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence and the Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award.

The Transitional Medical Unit recently earned a Christiana Care Zero Harm award for 12 consecutive months without a catheter-associated urinary tract infection and another for 24 consecutive months without a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. The team was also selected to showcase the translation of evidence-based research into clinical practice through Value Improvement Teams at the AACN’s 2016 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans.