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Critical Care Team at Meritus Medical Center Now Three-Time Beacon Awardee

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The critical care team at Meritus Medical Center has been recognized with a Silver Beacon Award for Excellence for 2020. The team is from one of only six hospitals in the state of Maryland and the only one in the region to be recognized. This is the team’s third recognition with this prestigious award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) following Bronze designation in 2014 and Silver in 2017.

“Our team has been honored because they continue to improve in every facet of patient care for those extremely vulnerable people who need critical health care treatment,” says Melanie Heuston, D.N.P., chief nursing and patient care services officer of Meritus Health. “Our critical care team is truly setting a standard for excellence in patient care.”

A 48-page document was submitted showcasing the team’s success within the AACN’s six healthy work environment standards – from leadership to staff engagement, communication to measurement of outcomes. Among the notable highlights in the report were:

  • Staff members shared that recognition among peers is especially rewarding, so the team adopted “Courageous Care Notes” as an opportunity to praise and appreciate each other.
  • The team was recognized by the state’s organ donation foundation for a national award nomination for outstanding care and teamwork specific to organ donor patients – of which Meritus Medical Center has the second highest number of in the state of Maryland.
  • The creation of a nurse externship program providing an immersive experience to three senior level nursing students interested in pursuing a career in critical care.
  • The implementation of a Helping Understand Sleep Heals (HUSH) quiet time initiative following one team member’s experience with a relative becoming a critically ill patient and seeing firsthand the importance of sleep for healing.
  • More nominations and winners for the national Daisy Nurse award for team members than any other patient care unit at Meritus Medical Center.

“I’m so proud that we were again recognized for how well we work together, empower each other and provide quality patient care to everyone admitted to our unit,” says Heather Mathews, clinical manager of the critical care unit. “This is a significant accomplishment for all of us who work here.”

Beacon Team Photo

PHOTO CAPTION - Pictured left to right from the 4 West critical care team: Cindy Lewis, Jared Dias, Karen Long, Amy Miller, Heidi Locke, Ryan Mellott, Melissa Butler, Jill Storer, Heather Mathews, Chris McAllister, Tisa Crouse and Melanie Heuston, Chief Nursing Officer of Meritus Health.

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