An IP can use their expertise to make decisions that will lead to cost savings and improved design flow.
Infection preventionists (IPs) have a unique and valuable knowledge base that should be consulted and valued during the design and development of a new health care facility. However, all too often IPs and their knowledge are overlooked. Therefore, IPs should advocate to have a seat at the design table.
“In on the ground floor: Involving IP in New Hospital Design and Development,” was a presentation given by Rachel E Frederick, MPH, BSN, RN, CIC, infection preventionist at Inova Health System, Alexandria, Virginia, at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2022 Annual Conference, held June 13-15, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Frederick sat down with Infection Control Today® (ICT®) to discuss the key points of her presentation. “We need to advocate for our seat at the table from day 1. We can't be brought in from right when they're getting ready to go with that sledgehammer. They're getting ready to knock down that wall, we need to be involved in those design decisions,” Frederick told ICT®. “Because it is so critical, and we have such a depth of knowledge when it comes to cross contamination [like] the flow from clean to dirty. We can utilize and leverage that expertise to make decisions that is going to make it easier and often cheaper in the long run.”
Frederick also emphasized not to let an IP’s experience—or lack of—to stop them from advocating and contributing to the facility’s design. “I am not a super experienced IP; I only have a few years under my belt. Yet I was able to go into these meetings with my knowledge base. And even though I there were some meetings I left saying, “I don't know that, but let me get back to you,” it enabled me to learn and be open to learning new fields and made me a better IP in the long run. So whether you have 40 years of experience or you only have 2 years of experience, you still deserve to be at the table from day 1. So advocate for it.”