Awards, Children's Health

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses recognizes Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with Silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence

The pediatric and cardiac intensive care units are the only ones in Michigan to achieve this status

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 15, 2022 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently granted a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence to both the pediatric (PICU) and cardiac intensive care units (PCICU) at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Only 29 pediatric intensive care units in the country have achieved Beacon Award status, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s units are the only ones in the state of Michigan to receive the designation. This is the team’s second time winning this distinction.

“I am beyond proud of this team and their commitment to high quality care and the positive culture they work so hard to achieve. The last two years have been exceptionally challenging, and the PICU and PCICU teams experienced additional adversities beyond what we faced with the pandemic,” said director of Neonatal and Pediatric Services, Gabriel Laney, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “Throughout everything, their commitment to each other and to their patients never faltered and this designation really showcases just how amazing and dedicated they are.”

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

“The Beacon Award for Excellence is a testament to a team’s commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care to patients and families. Creating healthy and supportive work environments empowers nurses and other team members to make their optimal contribution,” AACN President Beth Wathen, MSN, APRN, CCRN-K explained. “Achieving this award is an honor that brings such joy to those who have worked so hard to achieve excellence in patient care and positive patient outcomes.”

The PICU and PCICU at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has evaluation and improvement strategies in place and good performance measures when compared to relevant benchmarks. The unit earned its silver 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 and Learning and Development
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Outcome Measurement



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About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan with more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.


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


Andrea Finnigan
Media Relations and Newsroom Web Manager
Office: 616.486.2535
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