Heroes of Infection Prevention 2011
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Improving IC Education in Urban and Rural Areas
APIC Minnesota Basic Infection Prevention Team
Sometimes seven heads are better than one.
That’s the philosophy that brought together a dedicated group of infection preventionists (IPs) professionals in Minnesota. Their volunteer mission? Create an infection prevention education program that would serve the needs of urban and rural healthcare facilities.
“We designed the course for IPs working at facilities that are part of large health systems as well as those at long-term care, ambulatory care, and critical access hospitals,” said Mary Larweck, RN, MS, CIC, and a member of the team. “These urban and rural facilities often lack the funds for employees to attend large national conferences.”
Hailing from diverse infection prevention backgrounds, the seven focused first on becoming a cohesive group. According to Mary, once they identified respective roles and responsibilities, the course materials flowed from there.
The resulting three-day course is offered twice a year in one urban and one rural location, and provides 24 hours of continuing education credit. In additional to using the APIC Text and materials, the instructors provide webinars, online tools, and educational resources for participants to take back to their facilities.
Because IPs often need to speak on a variety of topics with very little notice, one course component requires participants to develop a 5-to-10 minute talk on an assigned topic. Instructors help participants focus on efficient use of resources to create presentations. The team also promotes professional relationships between attendees and instructors, with the goal of building a more cohesive infection prevention network within Minnesota.
Recently, the “homegrown” course acquired an international flair. Three IPs from Vietnam enrolled and participated, seeking background on how to structure courses and content. The attendees stayed in instructors’ homes, and had personal shuttle service to and from the course each day. They returned to Vietnam with valuable educational resources, lifetime friendships, and a planned reunion with their instructors at the San Antonio APIC meeting in June 2012.
Building from a simple vision and an “aim to educate”, the Minnesota Magnificent Seven are generating rave reviews and accomplishing their mission with flying colors.