WICU nurses stand firm against hospital-acquired infections

group of hospital staff

Interdisciplinary team members of the “On the CUSP: Stop Hospital-Acquired Infections Program,” meet regularly at Christiana Care to review data and discuss progress. Seated in front are Andrea Rogers, RN, WICU nurse manager Donna Casey, BSN, MA, RN, FABC, NE-BC, and WICU medical director Farid Moosavy, M.D. Behind Dr. Moosavy stands Janice Nevin, M.D. MPH, senior vice president/executive director, Wilmington Campus, and Christiana Care’s associate chief medical officer.

Wilmington Hospital Intensive Care Unit (WICU) nurse Vicki Motley, RN, CCRN, isn’t about to let an infection enter a patient’s bloodstream on her watch.

Neither is Maryann Wardach, RN. Dannette Mitchell, RN2, BSN, CCRN, exudes that same determination.

In fact, the same could be said of all 27 registered nurses and five patient-care technicians, all under the direction of WICU nurse manager Donna Casey, BSN, MA, RN, FABC, NE-BC, along with the entire interdisciplinary patient-care team on a mission to reduce—and ultimately eliminate— central-line-associated bloodstream infections known as CLABSI on their unit.

Their efforts have been so successful that their infection rates are now down more than 50 percent and, more impressively, the unit went more than six-months without a CLABSI. When Casey learned that Christiana Care was joining the nationally acclaimed “On the CUSP: Stop Hospital-Acquired Infections Program,” in fall 2010, she knew that not only should her team participate, but that she, personally, must be among the leaders.

Developed by Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) helps hospitals prevent CLABSI by fostering a culture of patient safety in which all staff members are comfortable speaking up about issues that may harm patients.

“Every member of our team feels a strong personal ownership that these infections are preventable and that their individual actions can protect our patients,” acknowledges Casey. “Each one is directly responsible for overseeing a different quality indicator. The buy-in is beautiful.”

“Donna and her team have done amazing work,” says Janice Nevin, M.D. MPH, senior vice president/executive director, Wilmington campus, and Christiana Care’s associate chief medical officer. “Her leadership has been a key ingredient. She has put together an interdisciplinary team and created an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Everyone who is part of the team owns this work and wants to contribute.  In many ways, they have been scientists, looking at the process of care, sharing observations and then working differently.”

In turn, Casey recognizes her team and the tremendous and enthusiastic administrative support from the highest levels of the organization, including Dr. Nevin and WICU medical director Farid Moosavy, M.D.

“It is critical that we keep our efforts focused on sustaining these results,” notes Dr. Nevin. “Health care is complex; there is a new challenge at every turn. I am confident that this team is up to the task. They have transformed how they work. At the end of the day, our patients and families are the beneficiaries of this extraordinary process.”

WICU nurses stand firm against hospital-acquired infections

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