ORMC Trauma ICU and Trauma Step-Down Unit earn silver Beacon Awards for Excellence from American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

National recognition marks a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and achieving a healthy work environment

Orlando, Fla. (June 10, 2016) — Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Intensive Care Unit and Trauma Step-Down Unit recently earned silver-level Beacon Awards for Excellence from The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The Beacon Award for Excellence — a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments — recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year award meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“This award is important for our patients and their families because it symbolizes our team’s commitment to providing exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater patient satisfaction to the Central Florida community when it matters most,” said Jim Zolnowski, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Nursing Operations Manager, Trauma Critical Care. “As the only Level One Trauma ICU in Central Florida, each day, we care for the most critically injured and chronically ill patients in the area, along with their families and loved ones. For our nurses, the Beacon Award signifies a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover. This award also gives our team recognition at the national level for all of the hard work they do to continuously improve quality outcomes in our unit.”

AACN President Karen McQuillan, RN, MS, CNS-BC, CCRN, CNRN, FAAN, applauds the commitment of the caregivers at Trauma ICU at ORMC for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award for Excellence. These dedicated healthcare professionals join other members of the exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” McQuillan said.

The silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence signifies continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. Trauma ICU at ORMC earned its silver award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, Learning and Development
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Outcome Measurement

The Trauma ICU and Trauma Step-Down teams use evidence-based practices and processes to care for patients with traumatic injuries including neurologic, orthopedic, respiratory, or other conditions. Their injuries might include multiple fractures, a closed head injury, electrical or chemical burns, or internal organ lacerations, from traumatic event such as a motor vehicle crash, house fire, a fall from a structure or a drowning. The Trauma ICU and Trauma Step-Down teams also provide support to family members and loved ones.

The Trauma ICU nursing team is made up of nurses who have completed advanced critical care, advanced cardiac life support and advanced burn life support courses. Also, 88 percent of the Trauma ICU nurses are certified critical care nurses. In addition, 87 percent of Trauma Step-Down Unit nurses are prepared with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and 43 percent are certified as progressive care nurses. The specialized training demonstrates commitment to providing excellent care.

“Our team of health care professionals is nothing short of amazing.” said Zolnowski. “It’s incredible to be recognized with this honor.”

About Orlando Health
Orlando Health is a $2.3 billion not-for-profit health care organization and a community-based network of physician practices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers throughout Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 2,000 physicians have privileges at Orlando Health, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 15,000 employees who serve nearly 2 million Central Florida residents and more than 4,500 international patients annually.  Additionally, Orlando Health provides nearly $235 million in support of community health needs.  More information can be found at About Us.

About the Beacon Award for Excellence: Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence offers a road map to help guide exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. U.S. or Canadian units where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission qualify for this excellence award. Units that receive the Beacon Award for Excellence meet criteria in six categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. To learn more, 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 235 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. To learn more about AACN,, connect with the organization on Facebook at or follow AACN on Twitter at