ICU Earns State’s Only Silver-Level Beacon Award

Laura Grill
Board appoints Laura Grill as Successor to Terry Andrus
July 17, 2017
24th Annual George Brooks Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament
August 18, 2017
AACN Beacon Award for Excellence

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently conferred a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC).  Only two other Beacon Awards are currently held in the state of Alabama—one in Birmingham and one in Sylacauga—and both are bronze-level.

The Beacon Award for Excellence—a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments—recognizes caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year designation meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

Michael Roberts, MD

Michael Roberts, MD
ICU Medical Director

Michael Roberts, M.D., medical director of EAMC’s ICU says “The ICU at EAMC is a place where we set high standards for patient care, and seek to achieve them together. Our unit is defined by the teamwork that goes into caring for critically ill patients. I am thrilled to see our staff recognized in this fashion.”

ICU manager Cheryl Wynn, RN, ADN, who has been a critical care nurse for 30 years, agrees.  “This Beacon designation validates the daily work that happens in our ICU. Our patients benefit from the latest evidence-based practice and true, multi-disciplinary collaboration within our team. Each and every staff member in the ICU is committed to exceptional patient care and I am so honored to be on their team.”

“This is well-deserved recognition for this outstanding ICU team,” states Amy Brandon, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, CCRN-K, director of Critical Care Services.  “They strive for excellence in all aspects of critical care, understanding that the best patient outcomes are a product of a collaborative-team approach.”

AACN President Clareen Wiencek, RN, PhD, ACNP, ACHPN, applauded the commitment of EAMC’s intensive care unit for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence.  “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.”

AACN says that the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence earned by the ICU at EAMC signifies continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. The ICU earned its silver award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award criteria:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, Learning and Development
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Outcome Measurement

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.

About East Alabama Medical Center

East Alabama Medical Center is a 340-bed regional referral hospital located in Opelika that serves a six-county area.  Following an affiliation agreement in February 2014, the EAMC organization includes EAMC-Lanier hospital in Valley.  Between the two hospitals and their collective service lines, there are about 3,300 employees in the organization.  EAMC is Lee County’s second largest employer.  Among the services that EAMC provides are open-heart surgery and cancer treatment, both of which are highly acclaimed specialties at EAMC.  EAMC also operates non-mainstream services, including RehabWorks, HealthPlus Fitness Center, the Diabetes & Nutrition Center, the Wound Treatment Center and the Auburn University Medical Clinic.  EAMC-Lanier has a nursing home, acute rehab unit, detox unit and offers occupational medicine.  For more information, please visit