UMMC's Cardiac Care Unit Recognized with Silver-Level Beacon Award for Excellence by American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

For immediate release: December 18, 2012


Karen Lancaster

[email protected] | 410-328-8919

National Designation Bestowed for Exceptional Patient Care and Healthy Work Environment

The University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) has been recognized with a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence by The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The Beacon Award for Nursing Excellence recognized this specialty team of caregivers for successfully improving patient outcomes and aligning practices with AACN’s six standards for a healthy work environment:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, Learning and Development, Best Practices
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Quality Patient Outcomes

The CCU at UMMC is one of only two cardiac specialty care units in the State of Maryland to be recognized with a Beacon Award for Excellence.

"Our CCU nursing team has fostered a culture of exceptional teamwork that allows them to achieve not only great outcomes for patients, but also to enjoy an enriching professional environment," said Lisa Rowen, DNSc., R.N., senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at UMMC. "Their consistency and compassion is remarkable, and this designation is such a well-deserved honor for this exemplary team."

The CCU at UMMC is a 15-bed unit assigned to care for some of the most complex medical cases among the hospital’s nearly 800 beds. Many of the patients are critically ill following heart attacks or have severe heart failure requiring advanced medical treatments and/or mechanical devices. Some of the patients have received artificial heart pumps as end-stage therapy or while awaiting transplant. The unit also has a high proportion of patients with pulmonary hypertension, which occurs when blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels, causing the small arteries of the lung to narrow. Patients receive multiple complex treatments for pulmonary hypertension, including continuous intravenous prostanoids, considered to be the “gold standard” among pulmonary hypertension therapies.

AACN President Kathryn E. Roberts, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, CCNS, applauds the commitment of the CCU nursing team at UMMC 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 a role model to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care," she explained.

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. To learn more about AACN, visit, connect with the organization on Facebook at follow AACN on Twitter at

About the University of Maryland Medical Center

The University of Maryland Medical Center is a 779-bed teaching hospital in Baltimore and the flagship institution of the 12-hospital University of Maryland Medical System. As a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare, cardiac care, women's and children's health and physical rehabilitation, UMMC treats patients who are referred nationally and regionally for advanced medical, surgical and critical care. It also has one of the nation’s largest kidney transplant programs, as well as scores of other programs that improve the physical and mental health of thousands of people daily. All physicians on staff at the Medical Center are faculty physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.