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DANVILLE, Pa. –The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently recognized Geisinger Medical Center’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Surgical Trauma ICU with a gold-level and silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence, respectively. 

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 Health Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with a gold, silver or bronze designation meet national criteria consistent with the AACN Magnet Recognition Program®, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award. 

“The compassion and expertise our nurses display daily are what make our hospitals and clinics so special,” said Crystal Muthler, RN, chief nursing officer for Geisinger Medical Center. “Our care teams are here for our community on their best and worst days, and this recognition highlights the skill and care with which they do their jobs. We’re grateful for their dedication to making better health easier for our patients and neighbors.”

In addition to an effective and systematic approach to policies and staff engagement, the cardiac and surgical trauma ICUs earned their awards by meeting evidence-based criteria, including:
Leadership structures and systems
Appropriate staffing and staff engagement
Effective communication, knowledge management and learning & development
Evidence-based practice and processes
Outcomes measurement

“These dedicated healthcare professionals join other members of the exceptional community of nurses who set the standard for optimal patient care,” said AACN President Terry Davis, Ph.D., RN. “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.”

These are the latest two Geisinger units to receive Beacon awards. They join Geisinger Community Medical Center’s ICU and Progressive Care Unit; Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center’s Medical Surgical ICU; and Geisinger Medical Center’s Medical Surgical and Neuroscience ICUs.

The Beacon awards mark the most recent recognition for Geisinger Medical Center and illustrate the organizational focus on providing high-level care to the people and communities of the central Susquehanna Valley. In November, the hospital earned its fourth Magnet® designation, the highest national honor for nursing practice. Nationwide, less than 10% of hospitals are Magnet-designated — and fewer than 2% earn it a fourth time. The hospital and its services have also been recognized on national lists of top health care organizations. 

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. and 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, and 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, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. 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 or follow AACN on Twitter at

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the nonprofit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 126 care sites — including 10 hospital campuses — and Geisinger Health Plan, with more than half a million members in commercial and government plans. Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $15 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country. Learn more at or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

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Joseph Stender
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