A Salute to the Top Educators in Infection Control

A Salute to the Top Educators in Infection Control

By Gail Stout

Think back about the inspirational teachers who have instilled knowledge in you, enabling you to accomplish more than you could originally do. What made this person so special? Why did you follow every bit of information so carefully? Certain qualities make excellent educators stand out from among the crowd. Infection Control Today® seeks out those who shine in the field of infection control education. As a trade magazine dedicated to those in Central Supply, the OR, and infection control, we decided to honor those educators who make a difference.

In 1999, ICT conducted the first Educator of the Year Program. Any healthcare worker could honor any educator in the field with a nomination for the award. The advisory board of ICT plus the editors all voted on those nominated. To qualify, a candidate must be degreed in a healthcare-related field, published written information, have used innovation, had direct classroom experience, had previous recognition, had hands-on experience, and showed a background of association participation. We kept the job titles broad--from infection control committee heads to university professors, and then we advertised for nominees through this publication and our Web site. Because the event sponsors have proven so supportive, one difference between this year's winner and last is the cash award gift to the runner-up as well as to the winner.

Last year Karen K. Hoffmann, RN, MS, CIC, was nominated by her fellow workers and chosen by the advisory board to receive the first Educator of the Year award--a cash prize and plaque. Hoffmann is the Associate Director of the State Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology and Clinical Instructor for the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine (Chapel Hill, NC).

We chose Susan T. Sebazco, RN, BS, CIC, as the runner-up last year. Sebazco is the Infection Control/Employee Health Director for Arlington Memorial (Arlington, Tex).

This year's winner of the Educator of the Year is Gwen M. Beiningen, RN, MS, CIC. The runner-up is Nancy Fredrich, BSN, RN, CIC.

An Interview with Nancy Fredrich

We asked Nancy Fredrich, RN, BSN, CIC, the Runner-Up, to comment on her work and 20-years experience in infection control for Cooper County Memorial Hospital and Clinics in Boonslick, Missouri. Fredrich currently serves as the Manager of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, the house-wide staff developer of educational programs in Infection Control, and the Infection Control Nurse for the Cooper County Memorial Hospital and Clinics. She has presented many educational programs to businesses, teachers, and daycare centers on the essentials of infection control. She has served on several association committees for planning and teaching nurse education classes as well and has consulted with nursing homes on how to stop the spread of infection.

When asked to comment on her life's work in educating others on infection control, she responded:

"In my life as a nurse I've had the privilege of living and the accomplishments I have been allowed are the blessings granted to me by our heavenly Father. My days at Cooper County Memorial Hospital and Clinics (CCMH), a small, rural hospital, are full of all sorts of challenges. Presently, I manage all the Infection Control and Education throughout the system, which includes a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, a Home Health, two Rural Health Clinics, Ambulatory/Outpatient Services, Emergency Room, Long-Term Care Unit, and Acute Care.

"Just because we are small does not mean we are exempt from any of the rules, regulations, etc. So, much of my day is spent teaching new or reviewing old concepts and techniques.

"Education does not stop here at CCMH and Clinics. I have tried to share the experiences and the knowledge I have been blessed with by reviewing books and videotapes for Mosby Books. I have given presentations on several occasions for other Infection Control Practitioners and employee health nurses at various conferences. Helping to maintain the area Community Training Center (for CPR training) in agreement with American Heart Association and offering adult education classes at the area Vocational School seems to keep me on the go. I also help plan educational offerings for CEUs through the University of Columbia and through Missouri League of Nursing.

"Also, I work part time as a staff nurse at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics and in an area nursing home. This helps keep me current on my own skills, which assists me in being a better teacher. I love nursing and teaching people how to care for others and themselves."

An Interview with Gwen Beiningen

When we interviewed Gwen Beiningen, this year's Educator of the Year Award winner, the same modest demeanor could be seen.

"I'm a fairly modest person, so it's difficult for me to talk about myself and what I've accomplished in my career. The reason I got into education in the first place is that I've lived a fairly privileged life--not as far as financial success but in educational support. My folks were high achievers who were interested in learning and instilled that in me.

"I was also fortunate enough to learn from Lisa Docken, RN, as a supervisor early in my career. She taught me new things about Infection control that I hadn't previously known through schooling.

"In my job, I consult with surgical centers, acute care and home care. I work with 100 facilities. I consult with non-system facilities. It's in a four-state region: South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Each state has its own set of regulations. I learn something new all the time, especially each time I prepare a new presentation."

Beiningen's education in infection control began with her BSN degree from South Dakota State University and continued through her Master's degree focused in education. At present, Beiningen works as the Infection Control Network Coordinator at Sioux Valley Hospitals & Health Systems (SVH&HS) in Sioux Falls, SD. This involves consulting to all healthcare settings within SVH&HS including 22 hospitals, 13 nursing homes, 59 clinics, 1 ambulatory center, and 14 home care/hospice programs. She provides education to site infection control professionals monthly where system-wide infection control improvement projects are also created. She develops system-wide hospital and clinic database programs for comparative analysis of nosocomial infection complications. Presently Beiningen is building a similar program for long-term care.

She is also an infection control nurse and the employee health nurse at Sioux Valley Hospital. At Sioux Valley Hospital and University Center for Infection Control, Beiningen participates in the hospital-wide Infection Control Department for a 501-bed JCAHO-accredited acute care facility in a consultative format.

Part of Beiningen's remarkable teaching activities involves developing more than 26 lectures, workshops, in-services and general courses ranging from "AIDS and Hepatitis" to "Surveillance and Statistical Methods" and many others. She has published 10 articles, posters, brochures, and booklets. Her newsletter articles are distributed throughout Sioux Valley on topics such as Legionellosis and Rotaviris.

Beiningen served as last year's co-chair for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's (APIC's) 2000 annual Conference Committee. This year, she is the chair for that same committee.

What Teaching Techniques Work

When asked what teaching techniques worked for her, Beiningen replied, "The technique I use for teaching depends on the setting and the needs of those particular students. Lecture is my least favorite method of presentation. I like interactive education. I know that computerized modular programs are popular, but directly interacting and talking to people one-on-one is the best way to have them retain what I teach. I find myself in lots of settings, teaching outside a formal classroom. We spend time speaking about the challenges and struggles of professional healthcare delivery. I try to explain why practices are important. When I have my workshops, that's a different type of education with some lecture and some one-on-one interactive time as well.

"By having a live teacher, students ask the question when it arises, then get an answer right away. If someone has a question and the answer is delayed, the learner just gives up. There's a natural rhythm/timing for education."

There's a method of learning and it's not always the same for everyone.

"I teach Infection Control Practitioners. My education is provided to other infection control professionals, whereas most ICPs provide education to healthcare workers. It's a different group of people, more specialized in one particular area.

"My greatest pride is that I recently worked with six infection control practitioners over a year's time on what they need to know for the Certification Board for Infection Control (CBIC) exam. Five of them have taken the CBIC and all five have passed. It's an intensive test, and to have a 100% pass mark has made me as proud as a peacock.

"When I make a presentation, I use every technique that works. Humor begins many of my presentations. I have a good joke to start out with or a theme. I play jeopardy now and then. This year's annual educational requirement is based on Family Feud but we call it Species Feud. It's a Power Point Presentation. We go thorough Joint Commission, OSHA, State Health Department requirements and ask questions. One of the questions is, 'Where is the Exposure Control Plan for Bloodborne Pathogens, and why do we have it?' They may not come up with the response right away. And, it's not OK to not know. This starts a discussion. We carry on from that point."

In Conclusion

Both winners this year come from rural areas where professional infection control education may be a challenge. Beiningen and Fredrich treat the challenge with straightforward courage, determination, and a demeanor so modest that their delivery could charm any learner. Please congratulate these professionals when you meet them; they deserve recognition. Next year, when we once again present this award, we look forward to another amazing story of those who have survived and thrived on the ultimate challenge of teaching infection control principles.


This is a list of nominees for the 2000 Infection Control Today® Educator of the Year Award. Please congratulate any of these individuals if you are in contact with them.

Melissa L. Buller, RN: Buller is an Education Coordinator and an Infection Control Practitioner at the Ville Platte Medical Center in Ville Platte, Louisiana. She was 1997's Employee of the Year at Ville Platte Medical Center and was named the 1998 "Best of the Best" Nurse in Evangeline Parish by the Gazette Newspaper.

Joyce M. Closser, RN: Closser is the Infection Control Coordinator at Saint John's Health System in Anderson, Indiana. Closser has worked in Infection Control for 13 years.

Zorach R. Glaser, PhD, Captain, US Public Health Service (Ret.): Glaser is currently affiliated with the Environmental Health Engineering Department at the School of Public Health at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Edward L. Goodman, MD: Goodman graduated with an AB and MD from Cornell University and Cornell University Medical College. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and holds a Subspecialty certification in Infectious Diseases.

Verna M. Harrison, MA, BSN, BS, RN: Harrison is the Director of Infection Control and Epidemiology at St. Barnabas Hospital, St. Barnabas Nursing Home, and Union Hospital in Bronx, New York. Harrison is President of the local APIC chapter and a member of the New York State Coordinating Counsel in Albany, NY.

Kathleen T. Mathers, RN, BSN, CIC, HCRM: Mathers is the Director of Quality Management at Vencor Hospital, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Mathers is an instructor at Broward Community College where she teaches OSHA/BBP/TB-HIV/AIDS courses and a course called "Infection Control in Wound Care."

Darlene Dewitt, RN, BS, CIC: Dewitt is currently a practical nursing instructor for Technology. Dewitt is the current president of EPIC for the state of Oklahoma, a member of the Oklahoma Infection Control/Employee Health Association and the Association of Operating Room Nurses, and the current treasurer of APIC, Oklahoma chapter.

Companies Sponsoring the Award

3M Healthcare
3M has more than 60 subsidiaries throughout the world, more than half of which have laboratory sites. The company's product diversity, storehouse of technologies, and relentless pursuit of innovation has made it well known to those in healthcare. 3M offers in-service CEU programs and provides seminars on on-site and at chapter meetings of professional meetings.

Air Purification Technologies, LLC
Air Purification Technologies, LLC is a designer, distributor and installer of high quality healthcare and institutional indoor air quality engineered solutions. AirPureTech(tm) is a technology market leader in contamination control of infectious and harmful airborne pathogens and is located, in conjunction with an affiliated company, UltraViolet Devices, Inc., in Valencia, California.

Becton Dickinson and Company
Becton Dickinson and Company is a medical technology company that manufactures and sells a broad range of supplies, devices and systems for use by healthcare professionals, medical research institutions, industry and the general public. The company has served healthcare workers, researchers, patients, consumers and our business partners around the world for more than a century.

Glo Germ
Since 1968 Glo Germ(tm) has provided hospitals, long-term care facilities, food service, day-care, public school systems, clinics and other institutions with this unique product. Glo Germ(tm) is a product that helps you teach handwashing, isolation techniques, aseptic techniques and general infection control. The proven safe inert ingredients in the Glo Germ(tm) lotion or powder cast a revealing glow when exposed to standard UV light.

Healthpoint, Ltd. is the operating company of DFB Holding, Inc., created to market branded pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter drugs and medical devices, particularly in the areas of wound management, skin treatment, infection control, and sterilization. From its first order totaling $168 in 1992, Healthpoint sales have doubled each of the first five years.

Microgen Inc.

Microgen Inc. owns the most comprehensive phylogenetic range of substantiated antimicrobial efficacy in the industry. Its disinfectants and sanitizers are registered with both the United States EPA and State of California EPA. Microgen's formulations have over 100 efficacy claims ranging from medically important viruses, bacteria and fungi.

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