Charles Ash, BSMT (ASCP), MBA, CIC
Nicole Bryan, MPH, CPH, CIC, FAPIC
Trudy Cannon, BS
Darlene Carey, DNP, RN, CIC, NE-BC, FAPIC
Cinnamon Compton, MPH, RN, CIC
Shylanda Neal, MSN,RN,CIC
Kaleb Price, MPH, M (ASCP)CM, CIC
Gwinnett Medical Center
Collaboration Transforms a Hospital’s IPC Culture
Stepping into a facility with no infection prevention and control (IPC) leadership and a history of Hospital-Acquired Condition penalties, the IPC team at Northside Hospital – Gwinnett Medical Center dramatically increased understanding about the integral role of infection prevention across their facility and decreased healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
As the new leader for the Gwinnett Medical Center IPC department, Darlene Carey consciously built a diverse team, looking for professionals who could help transform the perception of infection prevention at the 553-bed hospital. “Initially, the first reaction when we were on a floor was always, ‘What did we do wrong?’”, Carey said. “Our team’s approach was, ‘I’m just here to see if I can help. I’ll be here every day.’ We all positioned ourselves as readily available resources to support staff and help them find areas for improvement.”
One of the new team’s first actions was to launch an HAI Prevention Committee with representation and involvement from partners across the facility, including clinical managers and physicians. The committee identified actionable items and then outlined processes for implementation and follow-up. As they educated and guided staff throughout the hospital to address priority HAIs, the IPC team focused relentlessly on creating a collaborative mindset and approach.
The team also engenders trust by evaluating the impact of new IPC projects before launching them. “We consider how departments will be impacted and work out the kinks first,” Charles Ash said. “We also do what we can to avoid adding to their already heavy loads.”
Over three years, the team created numerous, meaningful changes. These include significant decreases in both the overall number of HAIs at Gwinnett Medical Center and the standardized infection ratio. “Additionally, the trust and collaboration we’ve built throughout the system have contributed greatly to sustained progress,” Carey said.