Denise Sorel, RN, BSN, CIC
Canadian Patient Safety Institute
When Denise Sorel, RN, BSN, CIC, joined East Central Health in Alberta, Canada, in 1999, as the lead infection preventionists (IP), she was the only IP in the expansive region that stretches over 255,000 square miles. East Health is one of nine regional health authorities in Alberta. At the time of Sorel’s hire, it had 1,200 continuing care beds and 400 acute care beds.
Sorel’s first goal as sole IP was to create an infection prevention and control program for her region. She began by developing and implementing a policy and procedures manual for each facility, using evidence-based practices as her guide. Then she added an educational component and held numerous training sessions on multidrug-resistant organisms, influenza prevention, and standard and contact precautions, among other subjects. Sorel also held in-services on hand hygiene and standard precautions at specialty programs, such as those offered by community living and disability associations.
Officials at East Central, at the time, realized they needed to have an IP on site, and turned to Sorel’s program to train new investigators. Sorel armed each new investigator with a manual, sample of personal protective equipment, waterless hand gel, hand hygiene resources, and other information.
Sorel also developed self-study training manuals and established policies and procedures for outbreak management. She has established herself as a leader in infection prevention and control in her region and is well respected by her colleagues for her accomplishments.