4 Ways Infection Preventionists Play a Critical Role in Hospitals

The work of Infection Preventionists (IPs) in healthcare, which largely occurs behind the scenes, was vital long before the pandemic.  According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, IPs faced more challenges than ever before throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including rapidly changing and conflicting guidance, lack of recommendations for non-acute care settings, insufficient PPE, PPE complacency, and increases in HAIs and workload.  

To recognize their important efforts, we asked a group of IPs to share their thoughts. Hear first-hand from IPs to learn more about what makes their role rewarding, challenging, and how new innovative solutions can help support their efforts to drive quality and safety improvement across organizations.

  • Infection Preventionists play an integral role in protecting patients and staff: “Infection Preventionists collaborate with leadership and front-line team members to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections and minimize the spread of infections,” explains Angella Brown, Infection Control Officer at Howard University Hospital. “This is done by creating workflows and policies using data and evidence-based practices, continued education, rounding with leaders, and frequent communication.”

  • They impact patient outcomes and patient experience “The most rewarding part of working in Infection Prevention is knowing that the work that we do helps to prevent complications and save lives.” says Deanna Hillstrom, MSN, RN, an Infection Preventionist at Novant Health. "While we might not be right at the bedside, the work we do has a downstream impact to make a difference. 
  • The work is tough, but very rewarding: We often get caught up in the negatives and discuss what we need to do to improve,” says Maggie Ruskowski, Patient Safety Coordinator at Einstein Healthcare Network. “However, it is important to celebrate successes and educate others on what is working so well.”

  • They support clinicians, staff, patients, and each other: “If I could share any advice with fellow IP professionals in this challenging time, it would be to persevere,” said Becky Gillgannon, BSN, RN, an Infection Preventionist, at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus. “It was such a challenging and exhausting time to be an IP at the beginning and peak of the pandemic, but we have learned a lot and have become very knowledgeable and vital because of it.”

Find more insights from Infection Prevention professionals on how safety technology can help their teams take a data-driven approach to keeping patients and staff safer. 

How can data take your safety strategy to the next level?  Download our Essential Checklist to assess where your current safety approach falls short.

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