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Children's National's 7 East Medical Care Unit Team Wins Beacon Award for Excellence

The 7 East Medical Care Unit at Children’s National Health System received the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) for promoting exceptional patient care, coordination, efficiency, and a healthy work environment.

Beacon awardees set the standard for excellence in patient care environments by collecting and utilizing evidence-based information to improve patient care outcomes. This was the first year in which acute care units were cited for their achievements.
7 East, a 50-bed acute care unit, includes more than 100 Registered Nurses among a staff of 160 that provide multidisciplinary care to acute and chronically ill patients. 7 East is managed by medical teams, primarily resident-staffed care teams, with a focus on a wide variety of patient medical needs, including cystic fibrosis, diabetes, metabolic disorders, asthma, and other medical disorders.

“7 East staff has excelled in providing quality care to our patients. I am proud of each and every one of them for the accomplishments they have achieved,” said Debbie Freiburg, MS, RN, director for Medical Nursing and Patient and Family Education Program at Children’s National. “Their hard work has resulted in improved patient care outcomes.”

Freiburg pointed to the “exceptional leadership” of Sarah Carruth, BSN, RN, who put together the application that resulted in the Beacon Award. Carruth was “able to energize the staff to write about the great work they do every day,” Freiburg said.

7 East was among the first units at Children’s National to pilot LEAN initiatives, a methodology that allows staff to deliver value to patients and their families by eliminating waste and pave the way for improved workflow. Through multidisciplinary work, 7 East has piloted new processes, adopted several practice changes, and improved patient outcomes and patient satisfaction scores.

7 East has made great strides in improving patient outcomes through the incorporation of evidence-based care; such as reduction in pressure ulcers, falls, and increased accuracy and compliance with Pediatric Early Warning Scores (PEWS). The score system helps nurses assess pediatric patients objectively using vital signs in the pediatric intensive care unit, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research.

Vicki Good, RN, MSN, CENP, President of the Aliso-Viejo, California-based AACN, said she applauded the commitment of the caregivers at Children’s 7 East for “working together to meet and exceed the high standards set by the Beacon Award for Excellence. These dedicated healthcare professionals join other members of the exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care.”

“The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes,” Good said. “Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care.”

One of 7 East’s most recent initiatives is the huddle board, which is essentially a white board list put together by staff as a result of a series of team meetings. It focuses on unit metrics and provides transparency to staff by showing real time outcomes directly related to care. The board also captures staffing allotment, awareness of daily events, and even offers opportunities for improvements suggested by staff.

7 East has two active Shared Nursing Leadership Councils that work diligently to improve practice and patient safety. The combined efforts of these two councils have created a culture of caring.

Contact: Emily Hartman or Joe Cantlupe at 202-476-4500.


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