Change Agent for Infection Prevention
Kathleen Lucente, MT, RN, CIC
Kathleen Lucente, MT, RN, CIC, lead infection preventionist at the 226-bed Paoli Hospital in Paoli, PA, has been instrumental in reducing urinary tract infections by assembling a multidisciplinary improvement team to create the “Nurse Driven Foley Catheter-Reduce the Use” program. Her efforts helped reduce Foley catheter utilization rates from a high of 0.23 to a low of 0.15 over a three year period, and an infection reduction rate of 5.39 infections/1000 catheter days by 30 percent by leading the way to draft, implement, measure and sustain a clinical guideline for nurses to follow for the prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).
Her other achievements included the creation of a knowledge base and infrastructure to deal with future multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) outbreaks. Lucente is also credited with leadership efforts at Paoli and Main Line hospitals to reduce CAUTI.
Described as “stellar candidate and a change agent” by those who nominated her, Lucente has had a direct impact on advocacy and influence in infection prevention at Paoli Hospital and within the southeastern Pennsylvania region. She co-chaired the FIGHT MRSA collaborative from 2008-2009, and was responsible for examining ways to coordinate and implement evidence-based elements of MRSA-related quality initiatives.
A member of APIC since 1974, Lucente has extensive ties to the association, having served locally for the Delaware Valley/Philadelphia APIC chapter on various committees and positions, as well as serving as treasurer and a member of her chapter’s board of directors.
She has been chapter president twice, and was the first chapter president elected to represent all the chapters on the Administrative and Strategic Committee of APIC, back when it was called the Association for Professionals in Infection Control. She also served on the national APIC Guideline Committee and the Education Committee.
“Infection prevention has more prestige today than it did in the past and is on everyone’s radar now,” she said, comparing her past experience with today’s emphasis on infection prevention. “Pennsylvania has lots of legislation around infection prevention. It was a struggle in the beginning to meet all of the regulatory requirements, but it’s getting better.”