Keeping up with Infection Prevention

By Steven Schweon posted 02-29-2012 14:48


By Steven J. Schweon, RN, MPH, MSN, HEM, CIC

Infection Prevention Consultant, Board Certified in Infection Control

 We live in a world of antibiotic-resistant infections, poor hand hygiene / vaccine compliance rates, and environmental hygiene challenges coupled with regulatory mandates to reduce infection and promote patient safety. Resultingly, every healthcare professional has a role in infection prevention. As an Infection Preventionist, my responsibility is to partner with the hospital staff and keep patients, staff, visitors, and volunteers safe from infection.

Tenets of infection prevention and control are woven into the fabric of everyday tasks and procedures like hand hygiene, cleaning/disinfection/sterilization practices, vaccination, environmental hygiene, and standard precautions. In our daily practice, the research and best practices continue to be updated and add an additional layer of complexity to our challenging roles.  How do we continue to improve patient health and safety in this fast-paced and evolving environment?

 Our greatest investment for our patients is in ourselves. We need seek out and be receptive to new research, ideas and best practices to best serve all our patients and staff. Clearly, our learning needs are ongoing and never cease.

 After three years as an Army medic and more than 30 years in nursing, I continue to seek out opportunities to expand my knowledge. I also invest my time and knowledge to ensure my colleagues also have access to quality education. Whether it’s at training conferences, serving on a journal’s editorial board, writing articles for peer-reviewed publications, presenting at national conferences, or even connecting with colleagues, keeping my knowledge current can only better serve patients and other health care personnel (HCP).

 As nurses, the standard of providing the highest quality patient care in our daily practice has been instilled in us. As both a registered nurse and Infection Preventionist, I continue to view the focus of my work with providing a safe healthcare environment and promoting optimal patient outcomes. I encourage you to explore SHEA’s various educational offerings and advance your career. Go to and learn more.