VCU Medical Center MRICU recognized for critical care excellence

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses has awarded the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center’s Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit the Beacon Award for critical care excellence, placing it among the top ICUs in the nation.

The award recognizes leading hospital critical care units that demonstrate strong patient outcomes and exemplify excellence and innovation.

“I am proud of our MRICU team. The Beacon Award is one of the highest achievements possible for an intensive care unit,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the VCU Health System and vice president of VCU Health Sciences. “Our MRICU nursing staff has shown that commitment and dedication to meeting the needs of patients and adhering to evidence-based practices creates an outstanding work and care environment.

The AACN evaluates units on specific criteria, including leadership and organizational ethics; staff training, education and mentoring; creating and promoting healing environments; nurse recruitment and retention programs; and evidence-based research and practices.

The MRICU is a 20-bed unit specializing in the care of critically ill adult patients with nonsurgical respiratory and/or medical disease.

The MRICU leadership team includes Curt Sessler, M.D., medical director; Joanne Emerson, nurse manager; Audrey Roberson, nurse clinician; and Lauren Goodloe, Ph.D., R.N., director of medical and geriatric nursing.

VCU Medical Center’s Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit also received the Beacon Award in 2008 and was the first ICU in Richmond to receive the award.

Established in 1969 to help educate nurses working in newly developed intensive care units, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is the world's largest specialty nursing organization. For more information, visit