The lights are dimmed as a dozen healthcare workers (HCWs), dressed in multi-hued scrubs, sit in front of sleek black laptops, headphones on ears, eyes fixated to the computer screens in front of them. They are ensconced in their own private cocoons, exploring how to protect their patients by adopting infection prevention best practices. Instead of sitting in a traditional classroom, however, these healthcare professionals at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix are settled into comfy leather seats in a luxury motor coach that is delivering interactive training, continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME) courses on healthcare-associated infection (HAI) management and prevention.
These Banner employees are experiencing the latest innovation from Kimberly Clark Health Care — mobile education that is the foundation of the company’s new “Not on My Watch” campaign, part of a 30-city mobile tour, visiting 39 hospitals in eight months via the HAI Education Bus. The 45-foot-long bus houses a mobile classroom outfitted with all of the modern accoutrements necessary to teach busy HCWs on the go. On a recent sunny afternoon in Phoenix, a number of HCWs had boarded the bus to take advantage of the training after their shift.
“Some participants just came off their shift, while others are taking advantage of the education before they start work,” says Shawn McNicol, region manager of medical supplies for Kimberly-Clark Health Care. “One dedicated individual even took a course right after she ended a 12-hour shift of care. We timed the bus hours so that it would be convenient for healthcare professionals to learn in and around their busy day. “Given how busy the employees’ schedules are, I was impressed with the turnout. On Friday morning we had almost two hours where every seat on the bus was filled.”
Kimberly-Clark is committed to providing medical professionals clinical solutions for preventing, diagnosing and managing HAIs and recognizes the critical role of education in infection prevention. Caregivers are required by state law to complete a specific amount of CE and CME hours to maintain their licenses, but finding the time to take these courses can be challenging. Kimberly-Clark is helping by delivering these courses directly to the hospital’s front door through the HAI Education Bus tour. On the bus, busy physicians and nurses can reinforce their knowledge of HAIs through interactive education programs that fit their schedules. Through individual computer workstations, satellite Internet connectivity and online educational courses, the bus serves as a practical resource center helping these professionals refresh their knowledge of techniques for addressing HAIs.
“Hospitals agree that HAIs are a serious patient safety concern and know the stakes are high,” says Kimberly-Clark Health Care president Joanne Bauer. “Not only do hospitals make it their mission to deliver the best patient care possible because it’s the right thing to do, but the occurrence of infections can also have a major impact on a hospital’s financial health.” Bauer adds, “Staying up-to-date on the latest research in HAI prevention through participation in accredited CE and CME courses can help nurses and physicians effectively reduce the spread of infections among their patients as well as the financial burden HAIs can cause.”
HAIs are an unfortunate complication in virtually every hospital and can result in longer stays, more procedures and added healthcare costs. In its simplest definition, an HAI is an infection acquired by a patient while receiving medical care or treatment while in a hospital or healthcare facility. As an example, the CDC reports that surgical site infection, one form of an HAI, affects more than 370,000 patients in the United States each year.
The bus can also offer onsite access to expert speakers, group presentations and round-table discussions that cover a range of infection prevention topics, including:
Infection management, wound care and post-operative healing
Preventing airborne infectious diseases and bloodstream infections
Reducing the risk of oral infection or ventilator-associated pneumonia
The role of nursing in diagnosing and treating pneumonia and infection
Discussing HAIs with patients and what patients can do to reduce HAIs
“This education tour affords a wide variety of topics for the prevention and control of HAIs, and many different units such as sterile processing, OR, unit nurses, can take advantage of the coursework,” says Kerry Montefour, director of infection control at Good Samaritan Medical Center. “It’s very accessible and of interest to staff at all levels. I feel the bus is one of the best strategies for providing the most current information on preventing infections and arming staff with the knowledge and education they need. It’s a great opportunity to get staff’s questions answered.”
“The battle against HAIs is fought every day by healthcare professionals on the front lines, while delivering the best possible care to their patients,” says Lynne Kelley, MD, FACS, global medical director for Kimberly-Clark. “We know that doctors and nurses are committed to continuing education, but finding the necessary time can be a challenge. The HAI Education Bus tour is designed to make the process more convenient by having our educators and relevant resources literally roll up to their workplace.”
Participants at the mobile classroom simply negotiated around a user-friendly and self-explanatory touch-screen to select their desired course; a video presentation begins and lasts up to 60 minutes. Users follow the prompts on the screen to register online, take a post-test, and submit their answers electronically. “The entire process is electronically driven,” McNicol explains. “Participants view the video presentation, take the test, and CE or CME credit is sent via email from the continuing education provider.”
“We have enjoyed great feedback from everyone,” McNicol adds. “Participants have said it has been helpful to them, that they like the variety of the courses and the topics provided. Healthcare professionals tell us it’s a convenient way to learn.”
John Amat, Kimberly-Clark’s vice president of global sales and marketing, points out that that education can go a long way in the fight against infection. “Like many healthcare professionals, we believe that infection is preventable and should not be accepted as an outcome of the healthcare system,” Amat says. “We are honored to do our part in helping caregivers have convenient access to resources and tools that help to support their HAI prevention efforts. It can be challenging for caregivers to find the time in their busy schedules for continuing education, which is why we’re bringing resources to the hospital’s front door, literally.”