How Do You Spell SCRUBS?

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle, for HealthLeaders Media , November 12, 2008

Click for larger image.Recent audits showed that hand hygiene compliance for Blessing Hospital was in the 95-100% range, but Becky Crane, infection preventionist for Blessing, was still concerned.

"The data didn't match what we were seeing with more covert audits," she said. "So we decided to get together, review the national patient safety goals, and revise our policy so we could expand the scope to expect only 100% compliance."

Though hand washing campaigns aren't new to healthcare, those at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL, were determined to create a campaign that would help them reach their overarching goal of total compliance.

However, to put a plan in place the team at Blessing knew they needed full buy-in to the concept. A committee comprised of the medical director of quality, members of the infection control group, as well as administrative directors from every service line, got to work brainstorming what creative concept would be most appealing and memorable for the staff.

Originally the team considered focusing their campaign message around a parody of the ‘Got Milk' slogan. "We quickly decided that was overdone and worked to come up with something new," says Donna Rupert, communications specialist for Blessing.

Rupert says what kept sticking in her mind was the array of acronyms used on a daily basis in a hospital. With that concept in mind the team chose to use the acronym from the comedic TV series SCRUBS to get the messages out in a modern and somewhat light-hearted way. The full scope of the campaign will include a different message every month on posters placed throughout the facility that work off the SCRUBS acronym. For example, one month will feature the message: Scrub Continuously Rubbing Until Bubbles Stop.

The team also wanted to bring the staff into the campaign as much as possible, so each poster features members of the staff illustrating the campaign message of the month. "I thought it would be difficult to get people to be a part of it but I don't think anyone turned us down to have their picture taken," Rupert adds. "This campaign really brought out a lot of internal spirit which was an added bonus."

Prior to the campaign Crane says internal audits were seeing hand washing compliance at about 87%. Now, after only a short run with the new and direct campaign messages and the disciplinary actions put in place as a part of the initiative for noncompliance, compliance is at approximately 97% and the product usage for antibacterial soap and foam has increased dramatically as well.

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.




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