By Cindy Abole
Transplant nurse manager Cindy Hough was unaware that the best clinical practices that her 6E team established would allow her to share it with an international group of nurses and colleagues.
In mid-September Hough was able to share her team's successes halfway across the world with other transplant nurses at the International Transplant Nurses Society's (ITNS) 20th Annual International Transplant Nurses Society Symposium and General Assembly held in Sweden. Hough won a best poster abstract for quality improvement award for 6E's best practice strategies. The practices resulted in reducing central-line associated bloodstream infections within a transplant and nephrology unit.
The effort achieved two goals. One was the promotion of transplant nursing through establishing a local chapter of the society and the other was to support MUSC's commitment to the S.C. Hospital Association's effort to reduce blood stream infection (BSI) rates throughout the state.
Hough, who has been the inpatient transplant unit's nurse manager since 2007, was introduced to the society by Transplant Service Line administrator Kim Phillips, who has been a member for more than 20 years.
"The primary focus for ITNS is education for transplant professionals. I have utilized it as a resource for transplant-specific patient education resources that are available through this organization and ongoing training that's unavailable locally," said Hough.
In 2009, Hough approached transplant nurse educator Debra Cassidy, staff nurse Mary Shearer and Infection Control practitioner Mary Allen to form the unit's Stop BSI group with a plan to reduce the high prevalence of central-line infection rates.
The group invited a multidisciplinary team, which included transplant surgeon Ken Chavin, M.D., respiratory therapists and pharmacists, to help champion their goals. For example the team incorporated daily goals into their bedside shift report. Each day the team would write the patient's daily goal for care on a board in the patient's room to communicate infection prevention needs to all clinical staff. The effort also allowed for patient education and involvement. Patients were educated to evaluate themselves for weepy wounds, which is an indicator for a dressing change.
Allen praised Hough and the staff for their efforts. "Unit staff embraced a dynamic culture change that increased teamwork and improved communications that led to best practices and overall results. I'm proud of their efforts and where they are today."
To date, 6E has reported no infections since 2009. Phillips also praised the unit's achievements.
"The 6East team has achieved significant outcomes related to patient satisfaction (they received two banner awards) and clinical outcomes related to significant reductions in BSI. These achievements have been accomplished while constructing a new unit, relocating and transferring back to its current location within a short time period."
He also praised Hough for her leadership, self motivation dedication and accomplishments for establishing a patient-centered environment.
"Cindy and the 6East team have made vast improvements to patient care especially with the stop BSI and CLABSI infection rate improvements through the use of bedside shift reports and incorporated best practices. Their efforts have been outstanding."