NEWS | December 20, 2019

Three nursing teams earn PRISM awards, making UC Davis Medical Center No. 1 in state

Medical center units garner med-surg national honors from peer groups

(SACRAMENTO)

UC Davis Medical Center nursing teams reached new heights with honors this week. Not one, not two, but three nursing units earned a prestigious PRISM award for their exemplary patient care and evidence-based practice excellence.

Part of the East 5 team proudly displays its national PRISM award following ceremonies this week. Part of the East 5 team proudly displays its national PRISM award following ceremonies this week.

East 5 Neuroscience, Tower 6 Medical-Surgical, and the Tower 8 Transplant/Metabolic Unit all received the national recognition. The three new awards, together with two previous PRISM honors, catapulted the medical center to the top spot among hospitals in California – by far – with five out of the six awards in the entire state.

Around the world, only one other hospital has five PRISM awards.

“PRISM” signifies Premier Recognition in the Specialty of Med-Surg. It’s an especially meaningful award for nurses because it comes from their peers – the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.  

There are over 5,000 hospitals in the United States, says the AMSN. The academy notes that there is at least one or more medical-surgical unit in each hospital.


The Tower 6 unit gathered in celebration of its PRISM award.

At the ceremonies honoring each of the medical center’s med-surg units, AMSN representative Wes Foster highlighted the accomplishments of the nursing teams and why they were selected for recognition.

“You are all a shining example for others of exemplary practice and care,” said Foster, who flew to Sacramento to present the awards. “We wanted this award to come from med-surg nurses, to med-surg nurses, because they truly understand in very specific, significant ways what your work entails and what it takes to excel in this field.”

PRISM awards are based on several criteria, including effective leadership, recruitment and retention of competent staff members, evidence-based practice, positive patient outcomes, a healthy practice environment, and lifelong learning of unit staff members. Nominations go through a rigorous peer-reviewed process.

AMSN reviewers noted key achievements for each med-surg unit that helped them earn the PRISM honors.

The Tower 8 team, for example, scored “Advanced” in four of six categories, and “Highly Competent” in two categories, for an overall score that exceeded the PRISM criteria. Reviewers mentioned the unit’s best practices in areas such as Patient Outcomes and Lifelong Learning as among the reasons why Tower 8 earned the honors.


The Tower 8 unit celebrated its prestigious award with a festive gathering that included former nursing team members.

East 5 scored “Advanced” status in all five categories of its PRISM application, garnering nearly the maximum 600 points during evaluation. Reviewers noted East 5’s “Leadership” excellence through its use of visual management boards, tools to curb conflict, an electronic newsletter, tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling and staff input on the Unit-Based Practice Council.

Tower 6 also received kudos in the category of “Leadership,” among other areas. The unit was praised for using evidence and acuity to align patient assignments for optimal outcomes. Its strategies for communication and collaboration constituted an area of excellence.  And its formal process for interviewing new staff members, along with staff engagement scores, were among the criteria that impressed reviewers.

During the awards ceremonies for each unit, AMSN’s Foster delivered remarks that summed up the academy’s overall impression of UC Davis Medical Center’s three award-winning hospital units: “Every staff member is exceptional and – as a team – you’re exemplary!”