Im convinced that nurses are the unsung heroes of our society, and that within this occupation, infection control practitioners (ICPs) are some of the most underappreciated individuals of them all! If youve been reading this column for the past six years, you know that I believe ICPs are the wheels that keep a hospital moving toward its goal of upholding and protecting patient and healthcare worker safety by minimizing and eradicating infectious threats. The impetus for the launching of our first-ever Whos Who in Infection Prevention issue lies in this conviction that ICPs should be recognized, applauded, and thanked for their tireless contributions and unparalleled dedication to their work. Its just one small way that we can start to raise the consciousness on the parts of all hospital stakeholders of the value of ICPs and their infection prevention departments, and in the process, remind the practitioners themselves to stand tall and be proud of their myriad accomplishments. Our Whos Who list includes professionals working in infection control, the perioperative setting, sterile processing and central service, and environmental services, because each department helps strengthen the chain and close the infection prevention loop. If you dont see your favorite ICP on the list this year, you have 365 days to submit a nomination for next year!
If you dont already know Louise Standridge, youll have a chance to meet her on page 34. Louise was included on this years inaugural list, and I wanted to share with you a few of her thoughts: I reflected on my career as an ICP and realized once again what an awesome journey it has been. It has required physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual reserve, but a path I would without hesitation choose again Those who flourish in this field must be able to effectively integrate their knowledge of medicine and behavioral science to serve a wide spectrum of patients and staff, both in acutecare facilities as well as in the community. They must be assertive serving as a patient advocate. They must be excellent communicators, with physicians, staff, and with patients and their families. The challenges in infection control and prevention over the past 30 years are mind boggling as we have been faced with many changes in healthcare. In acute care facilities we are seeing sicker patients with multiple co-morbidities, more invasive devices, and yet constantly reaching for zero tolerance of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Being a vital part of the patient care team is absolutely necessary as we bring our clinical expertise and knowledge of best practices to the table. Embracing evidence-based medicine as we develop bundles for prevention of HAIs is vital. Working with staff to improve patient outcomes is our greatest reward. Having the opportunity to work with patients and staff, helping them to change to healthier lifestyles is a privilege. A passion to make a difference in healthcare must be our continued challenge. Louise, I couldnt have said it better myself.
And speaking of introductions, it is appropriate then that we introduce you to Marcia Ryder, RN, PhD, our 2007 ICT Educator of the Year, sponsored by B. Braun, Glo-Germ, Mobile Instruments, and ChloraPrep. Marcia is infection-prevention education personified, and a terrific warrior in the battle against HAIs; please turn to page 12.
And finally, in this last column of 2006, I invite you to attend the ICT Conference on Professional Development, to be held Jan. 24-26, 2007 in Las Vegas. We have assembled a stellar group of presenters for three days of laughter and learning with professionals who will share their expertise and help you add new skills to your infection prevention toolbox. Wont you please join us? Please visit www.ictconference.com for a detailed agenda, faculty bios, and additional information about this dynamic event just for ICPs.
Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season!
Until next month, bust those bugs,
Kelly M. Pyrek