Wednesday, September 10, 2014 5:13 PM

Fresno Heart & Surgical earns second recognition for top intensive care

Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s cardiovascular staff has earned honors for a second time as one of the top intensive care units in the country. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recognized exceptional care at the hospital with a silver Beacon Award of Excellence.

There are more than 6,000 hospital intensive care units in the United States, and less than 290 of those have a current Beacon excellence designation. Only 59 hospitals nationwide and just seven hospitals in California earned a Beacon Award this year. “Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” said ACCN President Vicki Good, RN, MSN, CENP.

“For patients and families, the Beacon Award signifies exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall satisfaction,” explained Heather Rodriquez, RN, chief nursing officer for Fresno Heart & Surgical. “For nurses, it signals a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover.”

Rodriguez praised nurses for their hard work, dedication and the outstanding care they provide. The hospital’s critical care nurses earned their first Beacon Award in 2011.

Fresno Heart & Surgical’s Cardiovascular Unit (CVU) specializes in the treatment of cardiovascular-related patient care, including open heart surgery, heart attacks, heart failure, difficult arrhythmias, and advanced interventional procedures. It also takes care of any bariatric and surgical patients requiring intensive care services.

To receive the Beacon Award, a unit must meet 38 different criteria in six categories – including innovation/excellence in recruitment and retention; education and mentoring for nursing staff; evidence-based practice and research; outstanding patient outcomes; creating and promoting healing environments; and leadership and organizational ethics. Because the award program provides nursing care units a way to better measure their systems, outcomes and environment, the Beacon Award is increasingly linked to patient quality and safety initiatives.

Erin Kennedy reported this story. She can be reached at