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A cure for healthcare costs
Linda R. Greene, RN, MPS, CIC
University of Rochester Medical Center, Highland Hospital
Rochester, New York
BIOGRAPHY: Linda R. Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, is the infection prevention manager for University of Rochester Medical Center, Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York. Linda has more than 25 years’ experience in infection prevention. Linda has authored or coauthored several peer review publications in nursing and infection prevention journals, text book chapters, and implementation guides. Linda serves as national faculty for the Agency of Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) “CAUTI CUSP” program and is a mentor for the CAUTI [catheter-associated urinary tract infection] Fellowship program.
She was the APIC representative to the SHEA Compendium sections on ventilator-associated events and surgical site infections. Linda has served in various leadership capacities in APIC including president of her local chapter, president of the New York State APIC Advisory Council and as an APIC board member and secretary of the APIC Board of Directors. Linda was lead author for APIC’s Position Paper on Healthcare Worker Influenza Immunization as well as APIC’s Position Paper on Electronic Surveillance for HAIs. Linda was a former chair of APIC’s Nominating and Awards committee, the AJIC Editorial Board, and the Public Policy Committee.
She currently serves on the APIC Consulting Board and is a member of APIC’s Regulatory Review Committee. She has served on several advisory panels including the New York State technical advisory panel for public reporting of hospital-acquired infections, the CDC Ventilator Pneumonia work group, and the CDC HICPAC surveillance work group. In 2006, she received a “Heroes of Infection Prevention” award from APIC for her role in significantly reducing HAIs. She received the Rochester Business Journal 2012 Healthcare Achievement Award in Nursing. In 2014, she received the Western NY March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award in Patient Safety/Infection Control. Linda has lectured and presented extensively at the, state, national, and international level. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the State of New York Regents external degree program and her Master’s in Administration form Alfred University.
Hero of Infection Prevention profile: While working as an RN in a small community hospital, Linda Greene was given the opportunity to become an infection preventionist after 18 years of nursing. And she’s never regretted making the move since.
As an RN for Rochester General Hospital in New York, Linda got a chance to use her infection control skills to the max about in 2003 when she and 35 other IPs volunteered to go to Toronto for a few weeks to help during the SARS outbreak. She and her colleagues gave relief to their Canadian IP counterparts who had been working seven days a week and in some cases, 24 hours a day without a break.
“It was really the right thing to do,” said Linda. “As a nurse you influence an individual patient but as an IP you make a difference in a more global way by impacting a whole group of patients.”
Following the SARS assignment, Linda returned to Rochester and led a team of professionals to reduce CVC bacteremia in their ICU, significantly below NNIS benchmarks, and to expand this reduction to the entire organization. Within the first three months, dramatic results were evident throughout the hospital: attributable mortality decreased from 4 percent to zero and the overall bacteremia rate decreased 72 percent over two years.
If Linda could make any changes in her profession it would be to see “more emphasis on what infection control and prevention is to both the public and within many healthcare institutions. Administration in some institutions—not mine—doesn’t always value what IPs do; how they save lives and costs.”
“We ourselves have an obligation to make sure we let our leadership understand and know what we do. It’s time we toot our own horns,” she said. “We always assumed that people would understand what we do and what we contribute but that’s not always the case. As a nurse, you think your job is to serve and that people will automatically understand that. But as an IP, I think some of this is a paradigm shift for us; to be more proactive; focus on processes. All these types of things are huge changes we must make.”
Having introduced a program in Rochester that is “not unique to us”, Linda has developed a cadre of infection control liaison nurses at the bedside.
“These nurses are the eyes and ears of the infection control department,” she said. “For instance, every unit has an infection control liaison nurse, specially trained in infection control; helping educate co-workers and helping gather some data. They often become future infection control coordinators. Although our hospital has four infection control nurses, we have about 35 liaisons who meet monthly.”
In the Rochester hospital community Linda’s infection control chapter has educated others so that almost all acute care hospitals in that region have a liaison program.
“We have a joint training and teaching day once a year when all the liaisons throughout the region get together,” she said.