Nurses' Unlikely Infection Control Tool Quashes HAI

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, May 13, 2014

Nursing leaders at a Florida hospital finally found an infection control method that helped arrest a stubborn problem with hospital-acquired infections. It took them 20 years.

For years, clinical staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami did everything they could think of to curb the spread of the highly resistant organism Acinetobacter baumannii (also known as Iraqibacter) with little luck.

But a bundle of infection control interventions including hand-hygiene initiatives, multidisciplinary taskforce meetings, and isolation and cohorting "didn't really make much of a dent in the situation," Elizabeth Davidson, R.N. M.S.N., nurse manager of the surgical intensive care unit at JMH.

But after 20 years of trying different things, something unexpected finally worked: Weekly emails to the C-suite.

Between January 14, 2011, and March 30, 2012, Luisa S. Munoz-Price, MD, Jackson Memorial's medical director of infection control, sent weekly emails to the hospital leadership, including the C-suite of the hospital, the Quality and Patient Safety Division, and the nursing and medical directors of inpatient units, according to the study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

"She was looking for a different way to attack the problem and get upper-level management involved," Davidson says. "She was trying to get a multidisciplinary approach in which there was accountability. That's why we had to reach out to the upper-level management."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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