Awards & recognition

At UAB Medicine, we hire talented, caring people who are committed to our mission. Our nursing staff make a positive impact across the Birmingham area and beyond, as reflected by our national recognitions and certifications. We have also created internal honors that reinforce our Core Values and spotlight staff who raise the bar for nursing care at UAB Medicine. Some of our most significant awards and recognitions in 2022 are highlighted below.

Beacon Award for Excellence

The Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses recognizes health care organizations such as UAB Medicine that deliver exceptional care through positive clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction.

In 2022, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit received the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence. Our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit was the first UAB Medicine unit to receive this award in 2021.


Since 2017, UAB Medicine has been a member of the DAISY Foundation (Diseases Attacking the Immune System). This internationally recognized program presents DAISY Awards to celebrate nurses who provide extraordinary, compassionate, and skillful care to patients and their families every day.

Nurses can be nominated by patients, family members, fellow nurses and clinicians, physicians, and other staff. The nurses who received the prestigious DAISY Award in 2022 were:

Clinical Excellence in Nursing Awards

The Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award is the highest honor available for nursing staff at UAB Medicine. Each year, professional nurses and support staff are considered for this award based upon nursing knowledge, technical skills, and clinical leadership. The awards are presented during the American Nurses Association’s annual National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6 and concludes on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. See the 2022 winners.

Nursing Communication HCAHPS Level 5 units

The Nursing Communication HCAHPS performance domain is a key measure of delivering excellent care and achieving high levels of patient satisfaction. The units below earned Level 5 in Nursing Communication during 2022, and some earned this recognition for multiple quarters last fiscal year:

Unit secretary recognized as longest-serving employee in 2022

One of UAB Medicine’s longest-serving employees in 2022 was Unit Secretary Glenda Estell. She started working at University Hospital in 1962 and was recognized as part of our annual UAB Medicine Service Awards for her many years of faithful service, hard work, and special contributions to our organization. Learn more about her experience at UAB Medicine.

Emergency Department nurses win national championship

A four-nurse team from the UAB Medicine Emergency Department won a national championship at the Emergency Nursing Association’s annual meeting in Denver. They received the top award for SIM Wars, an emergency medicine simulation exercise at the conference. Their achievement demonstrates a commitment to continued training and education, which ultimately means better care for our patients. Learn more about this accomplishment and our outstanding nurses.

UAB School of Nursing Alumni Awards

Three UAB Medicine employees were recognized during the UAB School of Nursing’s annual Alumni Night, held in partnership with the Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia chapters of the UAB National Alumni Society. The awards and their recipients were:

  • Young Alumni Merit Award: Adam Wilson, MSN, RN, ANM, ED
  • Rising Star in Nurse Anesthesia Award: Brooke Vining, MNA, MSHA, RN, CRNA, associate vice president of Perioperative Services
  • Career Achievement in Nurse Anesthesia Award: Nolan Lyda, CRNA, CICU

Learn more about these awards, the accomplishments of these outstanding employees, and their impact on both health care and the community.

U.S. News & World Report rankings

UAB Medicine was again named the best hospital in Alabama by U.S. News & World Report, and eight adult specialties were ranked among the best programs of their kind in the nation. The rankings consider measures such as hospital volume, nursing staffing levels, and other important factors that define the hospital environment. Some of these other factors include UAB Medicine’s designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Institutes of Health and being Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Our nursing staff played a key role in achieving these rankings.

UAB Medicine’s programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report include:

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology – No. 5
  • Rheumatology – No. 10
  • Rehabilitation – No. 20
  • Ear, Nose & Throat – No. 22
  • Cardiology/Heart Surgery – No. 31
  • Geriatrics – No. 36
  • Diabetes and Endocrinology – No. 40
  • Pulmonology/Lung Surgery – No. 50

In addition, UAB Medicine’s Cancer, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Gastroenterology/GI Surgery specialties were classified as “high-performing”.

UAB Medicine also was rated as “high-performing” (the highest level possible) in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Maternity Care survey for 2022-2023. This recognition – along with UAB’s OB/GYN program being ranked No. 5 in the nation, which is among the highest rankings ever for a UAB Medicine specialty – is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and expertise of our nurses, staff, and advanced practice providers.

UAB Hospital re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center

UAB Hospital was re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. UAB is the only hospital in Alabama to hold this designation, having first been verified in 1999 and re-verified every three years since.

Other nursing achievements

As part of our Magnet designation and commitment to ongoing professional development, UAB Medicine nursing staff develop and deliver informative presentations, draft research-based articles for publication, and complete training for additional nursing certifications. Such activities and tallies in 2022 included:

  • 8 poster presentations
  • 21 oral presentations
  • 24 publications
  • 19 nurses completed additional certifications
  • Over 1,300 certified nursing staff at UAB Medicine

CICU nurses address moral distress

Clinical nurses from UAB Medicine’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CICU) were selected to participate in the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s CSI Academy, an honor given to just 10 cardiac surgery units in the United States. The goal of the CICU project was to reduce moral distress in the work environment and thereby decrease turnover rates. Virtual sessions were hosted by national leaders affiliated with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Participants were provided education on the quality improvement process and mentored on finalizing the project structure and outcome measurements.

Grant funding provided as part of the project was used to present each CICU nurse with a coffee mug filled with party favors and bearing the slogan, “Caring Is Critical to Us!” A poster with this slogan also was created; nurses were asked to sign the poster at the project’s kickoff, and it was hung in the unit. The project fostered interdisciplinary dialogue among team members and positively impacted the working environment for unit staff.

This story is part of the Nursing Annual Report 2022. Click here to view the report.

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