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The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been recognized for the second consecutive year with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). In 2009, the St. Jude ICU became Tennessee’s first ICU to win the honor.
The St. Jude ICU is unique because 100 percent of its patients face long-term complications of cancer or other catastrophic diseases before admittance for management of acute, life-threatening illnesses. The staff of nearly 70 includes physicians, staff nurses, nurse leaders, patient care associates and respiratory therapists who provide lifesaving care to more than 300 patients admitted each year to the eight-bed unit.
“I am very excited with the news that we have been awarded our second Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence,” said Nan Henderson, Intensive Care Unit manager at St. Jude. “This is an award that focuses on nursing care excellence, and it is a great honor and tribute to the critical care team and to the care that we provide to our patients. The reviewers recognized what I have known for years—our unit is one of the best because of our nurses and staff.”
With their immune systems weakened from treatment, St. Jude patients are at high risk for developing life-threatening infections that require a higher level of care. In the ICU, the critical care team administers antibiotic and fluid therapy and provides 24-hour monitoring to prevent the spread and severity of infections. Staff members work together on a daily basis and are specially trained with specific competencies in critical-care nursing.
“To be recognized twice by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses with this award is an honor for us and a direct nod to the devoted staff we have in the ICU,” said Ray Morrison, M.D., ICU medical director at St. Jude who oversees the Division of Critical Care.
To provide the best possible care, St. Jude offers a staffing model unmatched in most ICUs: a 1-to-1 nurse-to-patient ratio; 2 to 1 when treating the most severe cases. Less than 3 percent of the estimated 6,000 ICUs nationally have received the Beacon Award.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine and the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world, serving as a trusted resource for physicians and researchers. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.
Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,700 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital’s work would not be possible. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm.