AORN 2024 Presentation: A Talk With the Presenter of "Infection Prevention in the ASC Environment of Care"

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In the dynamic world of infection prevention and control (IPC), Erica Smith knows perioperative nursing and infection prevention. With a passion for supporting surgery centers and independent ASCs, her upcoming presentation dives deep into the common mistakes and challenges faced in IPC practices.

Erica Smith, MBA, a doctoral candidate in public health and the global brand manager of infection prevention and control at Henry Schein, has a wealth of experience and a keen eye for common pitfalls.

Her upcoming presentation at the AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024 on Monday, March 11, from 11:30 AM—12:15 PM will be on the topic of “Infection Prevention in the ASC Environment of Care” and promises to illuminate crucial strategies for surgery centers and independent ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). In this exclusive interview, Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with Smith about her inspiration, key takeaways, and the pivotal role of infection control and prevention (IPC) in ensuring patient safety and operational efficiency.

The conference runs from Saturday, March 9, to Tuesday, March 12, 2024. For all ICT’s coverage, go here.

ICT asked Smith what her inspiration was for this year’s presentation. “Part of it was seeing that surgery centers needed a support system to help them with this topic, infection prevention and control.

"Many people come from the acute care space where they have a department that helps you know that just focuses on infection for internal control or just focuses on education,” Smith said. “But then when they go to the independent, especially the independent ASC space, many they don't have that, and they have to do everything from staffing to checking in patients who now they're doing the infection prevention and control standard operating procedures and so on and so forth. So that was the inspiration to create this CE course for them. That way, they can have a reminder of what's going on and be able to have an assurance that they may be doing things correctly or that they need to change some things.”

To learn more about a perioperative nurse’s opinion, ICT asked Smith what are the most significant challenges that perioperative nurses face today and how her presentation addresses them.
“I think one of the biggest things we are seeing, and we will probably continue to see, is burnout and that high turnover. When we see that high turnover, that's when things slip through the cracks because it's like I just trained so and so, and now I got to train someone else coming in, or I just did this, and now we're short-staffed by 3 nurses because a bug went through."
Smith explains that they must cover much more than IPC. "So not just IPC, how we are handling patients, how we're getting them through procedures, how we're discharging them, and so on and so forth. So I will elaborate rate within this presentation that yes, these are common mistakes, but this is how we fix them.”

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