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For the second time, VCU Health orthopaedic surgery units honored with prestigious nursing award


The orthopaedic surgery units at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center have once again been awarded a gold-level BeaconAward for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The gold designation is the highest of three levels awarded.

The Beacon Award for Excellence is a significant milestone that recognizes individual units within a hospital that show exemplary practice in providing the best care for patients and families every day. For nurses, this means a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover. The gold-level designation signifies excellent and sustained unit performances and patient outcomes.

The orthopaedic surgery units consist of expert physicians specializing in an array of surgical and treatment areas, including joint replacement, orthopaedic trauma, sports medicine, shoulder and elbow and general orthopaedics. The department has been recently ranked among the Nation’s Top 50 Hospitals for Orthopaedic Care in U.S. News and World Report.

“It takes a village to build and maintain excellent patient care units and I thank our outstanding providers, interprofessional team members and supporters throughout the inpatient and ambulatory organizations,” said Stephen Kates, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “Across the nation, Beacon awardees set the standard for excellence in patient care environments by collecting and using evidence-based information to improve patient outcomes, as well as patient and staff satisfaction.”

VCU Medical Center has 10 active Beacon designations and has been recognized 18 times including expired designations. Current active designations include four gold-level: neuroscience ICU, acute care medicine, cardiac surgery ICU, and orthopaedic surgery; four silver-level: comprehensive medicine unit, coronary ICU, medical psychiatry, and cardiothoracic surgery progressive care; and two bronze-level: supplemental staffing and acute care surgery.

“We are delighted that [orthopaedic surgery] was recognized first in 2014 and again in 2017,” said Deb Zimmerman, D.N.P., chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services for VCU Health. “Sustaining excellence requires dedication, creativity, resiliency and a focus on patient-centered care. We are very proud of our clinicians in orthopedics. They are dedicated to the complex patients and families they serve.”