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Rhoads 5 Goes for the Gold … and Succeeds!

Rhoads-5-Gold-BeaconIn 2005, the Rhoads 5 SICU was HUP’s first intensive care unit to receive the Beacon Award, given for excellence in critical-care units.  Since then, six more of HUP’s intensive care and progressive care units have earned this prestigious recognition, joining a select group. Fewer than three percent of ICUs in this country have received the Beacon recognition.

In 2010, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, which awards the Beacon, updated the criteria to three ascending levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Rhoads 5 SICU once again led the way, becoming one of currently only 10 ICUs in the country to attain the Gold status. “This outstanding achievement clearly demonstrates the unit’s relentless pursuit of excellence,” said Paul Harrington, MSN, MBA,  clinical director, Surgical & Cardiovascular Nursing.

Nurse manager George Iyoob, BSN, MHA, attributes the consistent recognition – it’s the unit’s fifth Beacon -- to its healthy work environment and strong collaborative approach to patient care. “It’s a team effort – not just clinical nurses but CNAs, secretaries, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, fellows, physicians, nurse practitioners, EVS.… Good people create a good culture.” 

Critical-care units are judged in several specific areas for Beacon recognition: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; communication; knowledge management and best practices; evidence-based practices and processes; and patient outcomes. According to assistant nurse manager Sebastian Ramagnano, BSN, BS,  “A unit needs strengths in every Beacon category to create this culture of excellence.”

Beacon-awardOutcomes is an especially important category, said Juliane Jablonski, MSN, CCNS, clinical nurse specialist. Beacon recognition is “definitely an outcome-oriented award, not just the processes we use. They’re looking for sustainable outcomes, a continual process.”  

The unit’s ‘Healthy Work Environment’ committee helps keep staff engaged and strengthens the comradery from shared experiences on the ICU. Not surprisingly, the unit has a very low turnover rate “and it’s usually because of life changes or getting a degree and moving on,” said Jablonski.

Iyoob also credits HUP’s Nursing leaders -- as well as Ben Kohn, MD and Neils Martin, MD (co-medical directors of the SICU) and Pat Reilly, MD, chief of Trauma -- for the unit’s accomplishments. “They’re all incredibly supportive.”

“Rhoads 5 paved the way for many of our world-class units to receive Beacon status and was the first in Pennsylvania to obtain the Gold status,” said Victoria Rich, PhD, chief nurse executive, UPMC.  “That’s what I define as the ‘best of the best.’”

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