Alice Blake ’22 aims to make a difference in the lives of ICU patients
For her senior nursing capstone project, Alice Blake ’22 spent seven weeks in a surgical intensive care unit, with a primary focus on providing care for patients with organ transplants.
Alice had the unique opportunity to take part in a task force on the unit that studied innovative interventions that could be implemented to decrease central line associated bloodstream infections, a critical complication that increases both morbidity and mortality in these vulnerable, high-risk patients. Infection with a central line associated bloodstream infection could make these patients unable to obtain a life-saving organ transplant.
During Alice’s review of the research on this topic for her senior capstone course, she found two extremely promising and simple interventions that were both shown to decrease central line associated bloodstream infection by over 50 percent. These interventions revolved around the use of Chlorohexidine Gluconate, a substance known for its ability to kill both bacteria and virus from the skin’s surface, preventing the introduction of infectious agents.
One intervention was to implement baths with Chlorohexidine Gluconate every shift, rather than the current practice, which was bathing patients with the solution every 24 hours. The second intervention was to implement Chlorhexidine Impregnated Securement devices, or dressings, for all central lines. Chlorohexidine impregnated securement devices only need to be changed weekly, therefore, decreasing the number of times the site becomes exposed to external air.
Alice brought these two evidence-based interventions to the hospital’s task force and suggested they be implemented. Alice and her course faculty members, Professor Nancy Reese and Professor Cheryl Petersen, were so proud to learn that, as of March 1, both interventions are required for every patient in that intensive care unit.
Exceptional work, Alice!
Sponsoring Department, Office, or Organization:
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Cheryl Petersen: firstname.lastname@example.org