Cardiac Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Nicklaus Children's Hospital Recognized with Gold Beacon Awards

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National three-year awards recognize exceptional patient care and a healthy work environment

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The Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, part of Miami Children’s Health System, have each achieved a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Gold is the highest level of Beacon Award recognition.

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone in achieving 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. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver or bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“We are honored to be recognized once again by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for the quality of care in our cardiac and pediatric intensive care units,” said Jackie Gonzalez, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “I am proud of our nursing teams and their ongoing commitment to providing the best care possible to the patients and families we serve.”

The gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence signifies excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.

Nicklaus Children’s CICU is one of a few cardiac intensive care units dedicated to children in the nation. The unit provides highly specialized pre-and post-operative care for children undergoing cardiac surgery and interventional catheterization. Innovative therapies available in the CICU include nitric oxide (an inhaled medication used to relax blood vessels), new inotropic agents and mechanical cardiac assist technology, bedside lab testing and results, and a computerized data collection and storage system, providing an integrated data base for management of patients with complex lesions.

Nicklaus Children’s PICU features one of the largest and most experienced pediatric and neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) resources for children with life-threatening heart and lung conditions in Florida. The PICU at Nicklaus Children’s receives nearly 300 critically ill patients each year, many referred from other hospitals. More than 60 nurses monitor patient progress minute-to-minute, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week.

For more information about the nursing programs at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, please visit

About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital – part of Miami Children’s Health System – is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with more than 650 attending physicians and over 130 pediatric sub-specialists. The 289-bed hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with several specialty programs ranked among the best in the nation in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015-16, by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

About the Beacon Award for Excellence: Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence offers a road map to help guide exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. U.S. or Canadian units where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission qualify for this excellence award. Units that receive the Beacon Award for Excellence meet criteria in six categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. To learn more, visit or call (800) 899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. To learn more about AACN, visit, connect with the organization on Facebook at or follow AACN on Twitter at

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Rachel Perry

Jennifer Caminas
since: 05/2009
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