American Association of Critical-Care Nurses recognizes Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at AHN Jefferson Hospital with Silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence

Updated on October 29, 2023

Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Jefferson hospital is pleased to announce its cardiothoracic intensive care (CVU) unit has recently earned a silver-level Beacon Award for excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The CVU now joins the hospital’s team of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses in sharing the prestigious recognition. 

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments — recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with a gold, silver or bronze designation meet national criteria consistent with the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“These dedicated healthcare professionals join other members of the exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care,” said AACN President Terry Davis, PhD, RN, NE-BC, CHTP, FAAN. “The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care.”

The AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Jefferson offers a full array of services including diagnostic imaging, medical, interventional surgical treatments and cardiovascular rehabilitation. CVUs are specifically designed for the care of perioperative cardiac and thoracic patients who have recently undergone complex cardiothoracic surgeries, like coronary bypass grafts or lung resections, and/or need additional observation following a procedure. 

“We’re beyond proud of our amazing nursing team at the hospital’s cardiothoracic intensive care unit for earning this prestigious recognition. Their dedication to evidence-based guidelines, paired with their compassionate care delivery, offers our patients remarkable experiences when undergoing complex procedures,” said Joy Peters, DNP, RN, MSN, chief nursing officer at AHN Jefferson. 

The silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence signifies an effective approach to policies, procedures and processes that includes engagement of staff and key stakeholders. AHN Jefferson earned its silver award by meeting certain criteria involving leadership structures, appropriate staffing, effective communication and development as well as positive outcomes and the use of evidence-based practice and processes. 

“This award reinforces that local patients of Jefferson hospital don’t need to make a trip into the city to receive the highest caliber of multidisciplinary care at every level,” said Chong Park, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and president at AHN Jefferson. “This recent designation is just another testament to our incredible nursing teams, their unwavering care of cardiac patients and dedication to the best possible long-term health outcomes.” 

In 2021, AHN Jefferson announced it achieved Magnet ® recognition status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a gold standard for nursing excellence and the highest national honor for professional nursing practice. The hospital is one of only 9 percent of hospitals – out of more than 6,300 nationwide – to achieve Magnet designation. 

To learn more about AHN Jefferson hospital, 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. and 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, and 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, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. 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

About the Allegheny Health Network:
Allegheny Health Network (, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, multiple employed physician organizations, home and community-based health services, a research institute, and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more. AHN employs approximately 22,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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