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The Cardiac Care Unit at Duke University Hospital has been recognized for excellent critical care by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The unit was one of only 12 in the country to win the association's prestigious Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence for 2005, and the first unit ever in the state of North Carolina to win the award.

The Beacon Award recognizes units for exhibiting the highest quality standards in nurse recruitment and retention, patient outcomes, staff training, and healthy work environments.

The criteria for becoming a Beacon Award winner include:

  • Recognized excellence in the intensive care environments in which nurses work and critically ill patients live
  • Recognized excellence of the highest quality measures, processes, structures and outcomes based upon evidence
  • Recognized excellence in collaboration, communication, and partnerships that support the value of healing and humane environments
  • Developed a program that contributes to actualization of AACN's mission, vision and values

“We are very proud to be recognized for meeting the high standards of critical care set forth by the AACN,” says Wanda Bride, clinical operations director for Heart Services at Duke Hospital. “Winning this award inspires us to set even higher standards for ourselves; and the CCU nurses, because of their caring and compassionate care, accept that challenge.”

Other units receiving the Beacon award were the Med-Surg Intensive Care Unit at Harrisburg Hospital (Pa.), the Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Regional Medical Center (Fla.), the Adult Intensive Care Unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (N.H.), the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Lynchburg General Hospital (Va.), the Intensive Care nit at Baptist Hospital East (Ky.), the Critical Care Unit at Piedmont Hospital (Ga.), the SICU-TCCU and the CCU/OHICU at Grant Medical Center (Ohio), the Medical Intensive Care Unit at University Hospitals of Cleveland (Ohio), the Critical Care Unit at Mount Carmel West (Ohio), and the MSICU at Inova Fairfax Hospital (Va.).

For more information about nursing at Duke, visit For more information about the AACN, visit