Heroes of Infection Prevention 2017
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Impacting the health of a region
Jamie Swift, RN, BSN, CIC, FAPIC
Mountain States Health Alliance
Johnson City, TN
An infection prevention specialist since 2001, Jamie Swift is inspired by the problem-solving that her job requires. “It’s one thing to sit back and see something that can be changed and another to actually try to change it,” she said.
Swift’s problem-solving capabilities – as well as her leadership, influence and tenacity – have had a significant, positive impact on the health and safety of her Tennessee community. In 2014 and 2015, she spearheaded an effort that earned her health system the first “Tennessee Highly Infectious Disease Treatment Network” designation. The initiative was far-reaching, and involved training all 13 hospitals in the Mountain States Health Alliance health system (MSHA) – as well as the Level I Trauma Center – to identify and control Ebola.
Swift’s leadership and advocacy also have resulted in the development and deployment of sustained community prevention and response programs addressing threats such as measles, Zika, and the flu. She highlights senior leadership buy-in as a critical component of any IP program, and her approach to securing this buy-in is grounded in logic and compassion: “If we can effectively communicate that what we’re doing is for patient safety, it’s easier to gain support.”
By consistently providing encouragement and support to her infection prevention and control (IPC) team, even in high-pressure situations, Swift not only improves the team’s performance, but also serves as a role model for IPC leadership. “When I see stress in my staff, it triggers me,” she said. “We’re going to be so much more productive if we take a break, step away, and come back in 30 minutes.”
Swift advises other IPC professionals to develop relationships not only within their own organizations, but with other networks and hospitals in their regions. “There’s so much going on with IPC that we cannot figure it out on our own,” she said.