What is the AMSN PRISM Award?

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) collaborated to create the AMSN PRISM Award® at the request of AMSN members who wanted an award to recognize the exemplary practice of medical-surgical units.

The name signifies the Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg. A prism is a reflective rainbow and med-surg nurses deal with a spectrum of patients and circumstances in their practice. To distinguish this award from others with the same name, "AMSN" was added to signify the professional organization that represents medical-surgical nurses.

Does the facility contact person need to be a member of AMSN to apply for the AMSN PRISM Award?

No, you do not need to be a member of AMSN to apply for the AMSN PRISM Award.

What type of unit qualifies as a medical-surgical unit?

Patient care units eligible to apply for the award include any individual acute care unit with a primarily adult and/or elderly patient population with medical-surgical diagnoses. These units may admit and provide care for adolescent patients on a periodic basis in an "overflow" capacity or may be a combined adult/pediatric unit that is classified by the facility as a medical-surgical unit.

Units may utilize remote telemetry monitoring, but may not be classified as step-down/progressive care units by their facilities. Multiple units from the same facility which fit the description of a medical-surgical unit may apply for the award as long as each unit applies individually.

What is the fee to apply, and how do I pay the application fee?

The application fee for the AMSN PRISM Award is $500.00. Since the application will be submitted electronically by email, you have two options for submitting your application payment.

  • Pay via mail. Complete page V of the application and mail check (made payable to AMSN PRISM Award) or credit card information to AMSN PRISM Award, Box 56, Pitman, NJ 08071.  
  • Pay via fax. Complete page V of the application and fax to AMSN PRISM Award at (856) 589-7463.

CAUTION: Credit card information should never be sent via email with your application.

Do you complete the application online?

No. An application form, along with instructions, is available in the Application Toolkit for the AMSN PRISM Award.

Following the directions provided in the application, you will complete your application as a Word document (or another similar word processing program) and add any supporting information for a maximum of 50 pages. Then convert this document to a PDF format and email to us at

What is the submission deadline for the AMSN PRISM Award?

There is no deadline for submitting the AMSN PRISM Award application. Applications will be accepted at any time.

What are the criteria for the award?

Medical-surgical units that receive the distinguished honor of the AMSN PRISM Award will demonstrate sustained excellence by meeting the following six criteria:

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

How is the application evaluated or scored?

Blinded applications are peer reviewed by a trained team of medical-surgical nurses. An objective scoring tool is used and the unit application must receive a score of 520 points or more out of 600 maximum points to receive the award. Units who do not receive the minimum score of 520 points are notified of their score and feedback is provided for improvement.

The decision of the review team is final. There is no grievance, or appeals process. Your unit may resubmit a revised application one time at no charge. There is no time limit for the resubmission. This resubmission will undergo the complete review process.

When will we be notified of the results of our application?

The review process takes approximately 10-12 weeks. The facility contact person will be contacted by email.

How long does the AMSN PRISM Award designation last?

The award is valid for a period of three (3) years, and the unit may reapply toward the end of that time.

How is the AMSN PRISM Award presented and acknowledged?

AMSN and MSNCB are pleased to present this award personally to the medical-surgical unit at their facility on a mutually agreed upon celebration date. A member of the AMSN or MSNCB Board (or their designated representative) will make the presentation. 

Units are encouraged to invite staff, administration, physicians, patients and families, or other appropriate individuals to the award ceremony. Units may consider holding the award ceremony during Medical-Surgical Nurses Week, November 1-7, or National Nurses Week, May 6-12. 

The medical-surgical unit recipient will receive a 19"x16" elegantly framed plaque to display in a prominent location on the unit. Recipient units also receive permission to announce their achievement and use the AMSN PRISM Award Recipient Seal in local and national advertising and publications, and other promotional vehicles (banners, unit scrubs, etc.), per provided guidelines. 

AMSN will announce your unit's award on the AMSN Website, on AMSN social media, in MedSurg Nursing Connection, the AMSN enews, in MEDSURG NURSING, the AMSN journal and at the AMSN annual convention.  We are pleased to use your photos and videos of your recognition celebrations.

If you have more questions, feel free to contact AMSN at or 866-877-2676.