University Hospital nurses are first in San Antonio to receive prestigious PRISM Award

November 15, 2019

Two medical-surgical units at University Hospital have become the first in the city to receive the prestigious PRISM Award, co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, AMSN, and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, MSNCB.

The award, which stands for Premier Recognition in the Specialty of Med-Surg, recognizes exceptional nursing practice, leadership and patient outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units.

“You are all a shining example for others of exemplary practice and care,” said Jennifer Kennedy, a member of the Academy’s board of directors, as she presented PRISM plaques on Friday to University Hospital’s 12 MSU and 10th Floor Sky Tower nursing units.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of our nurses at University Health System,” said Tommye Austin, senior vice president and chief nursing executive. “This award further attests to the Magnet environment that has prevailed at University Hospital over the years.”

“There is high value in having teams who have worked together in our Health System for a long time and who are accustomed to each other’s strengths and routines. It is very fitting for our staff to be celebrated for this premier recognition of their practice,” added Nelson Tuazon, vice president and associate chief nursing officer.

The two professional organizations launched the award in October 2012 to recognize the highest levels of patient safety, quality, compassion and commitment that characterize medical-surgical nurses.

The award recognizes units that exhibit:

  • Effective leadership
  • Recruitment and retention of competent staff members
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Positive patient outcomes
  • A healthy practice environment
  • Lifelong learning of unit staff members

Peer reviewers who evaluated the award application for 12 MSU said, “We really liked that the leaders encourage open communication with staff members through multiple layers,” including effective rounding, huddles, monthly meetings and emails. They cited the unit’s excellence in ‘promoting collegiality’ through recruiting and retention practices, and in taking “multiple steps to keep staff/patients safe from violence.”

Reviewers evaluating 10th floor Sky Tower nurses cited strong leadership. “Great methods of communication and dissemination of info. We like the scheduling app,” they said, referring to a phone app that has resulted in more effective staffing. The reviewers also singled out the unit’s program to improve staff turnover and satisfaction rates.

In accepting the PRISM Awards, unit leaders credited the hard work and commitment of their teams.

“It is a true testament to the positive growth and development of our team, as we strive to promote the specialty of medical-surgical nursing,” said Lindsey Greene, patient care coordinator for 10th Floor Sky Tower.

“The nurses here work as a family,” said Sabrina Morales, patient care coordinator for 12 MSU. “That leads to better communication and better outcomes for our patients.”

About the organizations:

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses is the only specialty nursing organization dedicated to the medical-surgical nursing practice. There are more than 650,000 medical-surgical nurses practicing in the United States today, making them the single largest group of specialty nurses working in hospital settings.

The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board is a professional organization whose mission is to validate excellence in medical-surgical nursing and care coordination and transition management.

University Health System is a nationally recognized teaching hospital and network of outpatient healthcare centers, owned by the people of Bexar County. In partnership with UT Health San Antonio, it is consistently recognized as a leader in advanced treatment options, new technologies and clinical research.