VCU Medical Center earns Beacon Award of Excellence for Acute Care Surgery

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center’s Acute Care Surgery unit has earned the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Beacon Award for Excellence.  

The national three-year award recognizes individual units that distinguish themselves by improving every facet of patient care. This highly regarded award is a significant achievement for a hospital unit and signifies a commitment to patient safety and satisfaction. The Acute Care Surgery unit, which is housed in the VCU Medical Center’s Department of Surgery in the Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency General Surgery, was a gold-level recipient, representing excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.

“This award is a testament to the skills and compassion of our care team, especially our exceptional nurses,” said Mark Levy, M.D., professor and chair of vascular surgery in the VCU Department of Surgery. “Acute care surgery is demanding and many times urgent and having a responsive, dedicated team of individuals you can trust and rely on is critical.”

The Acute Care Surgery unit underwent an application process to satisfy the AACN’s standards, which focus on excellence in leadership structures and systems, appropriate staffing and staff engagement, effective communication, knowledge of management and best practices, evidence-based practice and processes, and patient outcomes.

This is the fourth Beacon award this year for VCU Medical Center. Other 2013 awardees include the Hume-Lee Transplant Center, the Medical Psychiatry program and the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

The VCU Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency General Surgery is a Level I trauma center, according to the American College of Surgeons, making it one of only two nationally recognized trauma centers in Virginia. VCU Medical Center offers 24-hour, on-site surgical staff, dedicated operating room space and round-the-clock access to laboratory services and subspecialties including cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

About the Beacon Award for Excellence

Established in 2003, AACN’s award recognizes top U.S. hospital units that meet standards of excellence in recruitment and retention; education, training and mentoring; research and evidence-based practice; patient outcomes; leadership and organizational ethics; and creation of a healthy work environment. Award criteria — which measure systems, outcomes and environments against evidence-based national criteria for excellence — provide a mechanism to initiate patient safety efforts. To learn more about the award, visit or call (800) 899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 240 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.