St. Jude Intensive Care Unit honored with prestigious critical care award

Memphis, Tennessee, March 31, 2009

Intensive Care Unit

Nurses and staff in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have been recognized by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. The award recognizes the nation’s top adult critical care, pediatric critical care and progressive care units.

The St. Jude ICU is fully dedicated to acute-phase care of the pediatric oncologic and/or post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant population, making it the only one of its kind in the country. The ICU staff provides intensive care services to active St. Jude patients with potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition to treating children with cancer, ICU nurses and staff treat patients with other underlying conditions such as hematologic, metabolic and infectious diseases, as well as children who have undergone surgical procedures.

“This award is a national recognition of the excellence in care that is delivered every day by all of the staff to our patients in the pediatric intensive care unit,” said Pam Dotson, senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at St. Jude. “The teamwork and dedication to exceptional patient care is a hallmark of our staff and the leadership team who support them.”

The mission of the St. Jude ICU is to provide for the physiological, psychological, sociological and spiritual needs of the patient; to maintain and update the knowledge and skills of the staff to assure high-quality patient care; and to promote an interdisciplinary approach for comprehensive health care by collaborating with other health care providers, patients and their families.

“This is a tribute to each member of the ICU team and the excellent care they provide,” said Nan Henderson, St. Jude ICU manager. “I am so proud of the staff and their dedication to the mission of our unit. The everyday practice in the unit is current and evidence based; the team’s ability to surpass the highest of standards always amazes me.”

The largest specialty nursing organization in the world, the AACN represents more than 500,000 nurses who are responsible for caring for acutely and critically ill patients. Developed in 2003 by the AACN, the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence recognizes individual critical care units that meet high quality standards, providing exceptional care of patients and patients’ families while fostering healthy work environments.

“Recognition like the Beacon Award is a testament to the ICU team’s unwavering dedication, outstanding clinical care and unparalleled compassion for their patients and the hospital’s mission,” said Joseph Laver, M.D., clinical director and executive vice president at St. Jude.

To receive the Beacon Award, hospital units must meet 42 criteria in six categories. The categories are innovation/excellence in recruitment and retention; education, training and mentoring; evidence-based practice and research; patients’ outcomes; creating and promoting healing environments; and leadership and organizational ethics. Less than three percent of the estimated 6,000 intensive care units in the United States have been given the Beacon Award. St. Jude is the first ICU in the Tennessee to be recognized.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.