HAIs 'Not Just a Nursing Problem'

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , February 18, 2014

Infection prevention presents unique challenges because it is, in many ways, a moving target, Stone says. Other events, such as patient falls, have a clear causation such as slippery floors, or not enough people helping a patient with ambulation. But it's not always clear when and how infections begin. It's not easy to trace the origins of an infection, and an infection might appear a day or two after the event that caused it.

"You don't see the organism," Stone says. "It happens later. You just can't pin it to one event. I think not being able to establish the one event that's causal makes people think, 'Everything I'm, doing is OK.'"

That is precisely why certified infection preventionists, strong policies, interdisciplinary checks and balances, and leaders who are willing to lead the charge against HAIs are needed.

"It comes from nursing leadership, it comes from medical leadership, it comes from hospital leadership," Stone says. "Physicians don't like to be told what to do by the nurses, and nurses don't like to be told what to do by the physicians. Having that interdisciplinary core team involved in infection prevention is important."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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