Two Critical Care Units at Boston Childrens Receive Gold Level Beacon Award for Excellence

Children’s NICU and MSICU First in the Country to Achieve Designation

July 29, 2011

Boston, Mass. – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has recognized theMedical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU) andNeonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital Boston with gold-level Beacon Awards for Excellence. Children’s NICU is currently the only neonatal unit in the country to have achieved the Beacon Award at any level. Together, the NICU and MSICU are the first neonatal and pediatric ICUs to receive gold-level status. The MSICU was previously awarded the Beacon Award for Critical Care in Fall 2009/2010.

The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver and bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“The AACN is known and respected for setting national standards in critical care specialties,” said Patricia Hickey, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, vice president of Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services at Children’s. “The gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence is a distinction bestowed upon very few critical care units nationally. To be the first gold-level neonatal and pediatric intensive care units in America is extraordinary. This honor is a tribute to our exemplary staff who work together every day to optimize outcomes for critically ill patients and their families.”

The gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by the Children’s NICU and MSICU signifies excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes. Each unit earned a gold award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development and best practices; evidence-based practice and processes; and patient outcomes.

Recipients who earn silver-level awards demonstrate continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care; bronze-level awardees demonstrate success in developing, deploying and integrating unit-based performance criteria for optimal outcomes.

“This acknowledgment is a wonderful testament to Children’s clinicians’ commitment to practicing excellence, providing the highest quality family-centered care, and ensuring a healthy work environment for patients, families and staff alike,” said Eileen Sporing, MS, RN, FAAN, senior vice president of Patient Care Operations and chief nursing officer at Children’s. 

For more information on the Beacon Award for Excellence and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, please visit

Keri Stedman
Children's Hospital Boston

Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children’s Hospital Boston has been ranked as one of the nation’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report for the past 21 years. Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children. In addition to 396 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and 228 outpatient programs, Children’s houses the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and nine members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children’s research community. For more information about the hospital visit: