Three Units at UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

East 5 Neuroscience, Tower 6 Medical-Surgical, and Tower 8 Transplant/Metabolic Unit, from the UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA.
L-R: East 5 Neuroscience, Tower 6 Medical-Surgical, and Tower 8 Transplant/Metabolic Unit, from the UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA.

Three UC Davis Medical Center nursing teams in Sacramento, CA, received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award® for exemplary patient care and evidence-based practice excellence during a ceremony on December 20, 2019.

East 5 Neuroscience, Tower 6 Medical-Surgical, and Tower 8 Transplant/Metabolic Unit, received the national recognition. This brings the total number of AMSN PRISM Awards for UC Davis to five, the highest in the state.

The award, which stands for "Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg," is the first of its kind honoring med-surg nursing units in the United States and internationally. It is co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB).

At the ceremonies honoring each of the medical center's med-surg units, AMSN/MSNCB representative Charles "Wes" Foster, MSN, BA, RN, CMSRN, CCCTM, OCN, 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.

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!"

About the AMSN PRISM Award
Hoping to inspire nurses to strive for the highest levels of patient safety and quality, AMSN and MSNCB launched the AMSN PRISM Award in October 2012. In addition to excellence in practice and outcomes, the award also reflects the compassion, commitment, and connection that characterize med-surg nurses.

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. Med-surg nurses oversee a broad spectrum of patient care responsibilities, another reason the acronym "PRISM" was chosen for the award. The award is the first of its kind honoring outstanding medical-surgical units in the U.S. and internationally.

For more information about AMSN and the AMSN PRISM Award, visit or contact the association at or 866-877-AMSN