Heroes of Infection Prevention 2011
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Passion and Commitment
Linda Spaulding, RN, BC, CIC, CHEC
Inco and Associates International, Inc.
Lakewood Ranch, FL
Linda Spaulding turned a single, inspiring moment into a lifetime commitment to help healthcare facilities prevent and control infections.
In 1992, Spaulding was working as an RN at St. Francis Medical Center in Honolulu when she was asked to assist with a heart transplant operation. “As soon as the surgeon finished, he turned to me and said, ‘Now take this patient back to your unit and make sure he doesn’t become infected or you’ll kill him,’” said Spaulding. “That’s when the power of infection prevention really hit me.”
When an IP position opened at her hospital, Spaulding jumped at the opportunity to step into the new role.
“Over time, I noticed that Hawaii’s long-term care facilities really didn’t have anyone dedicated to infection control,” said Spaulding. “There was a real need there.”
Inspired by this need, Spaulding launched InCo and Associates International, a full-time consultancy providing infection prevention and control expertise and program development. Over the past 20 years, InCo has helped hundreds of acute- and long-term care facilities successfully implement infection prevention best practices.
InCo’s services include initial, comprehensive IP assessments; identification of strengths and weaknesses; development of action plans to create improvements; program implementation; and ongoing evaluation through visits and program re-assessments. “Training and staffing are key,” said Spaulding, “Just leaving a piece of paper isn’t going to help if the staff don’t exist or they don’t know how to do what you’re asking.”
The effectiveness of Spaulding’s comprehensive, evidence-based approach is demonstrated by quantifiable deficiency reductions among her many long-term clients, including Hawaii’s Department of Health.
And her experience working with a wide range of healthcare facilities has given her unique insights about the profession.
“Facilities are talking about getting to zero infections, but infection control people aren’t at the table,” said Spaulding. “Get training and then get to know your hospital administration. Make sure you’re included in every meeting where the words ‘infection control’ come up.