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Medical News & Perspectives
October 24 2012

Hospitals Slash Central Line Infections With Program That Empowers Nurses

JAMA. 2012;308(16):1617-1618. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13364

It's been 31 months since a patient in the intensive care unit has developed a central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) at the Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville, Tex, said nurse educator Theresa Hickman, RN, during a press briefing in September.

Hickman credits this achievement—eliminating infections that were once considered inevitable—to the staff of the 125-bed rural hospital, which implemented the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), an initiative being rolled out at hospitals nationwide to curb hospital-acquired infections. Hickman described it as the most powerful quality improvement effort she's encountered in her 32-year career. What makes it different from many other efforts is that it empowers nurses and other frontline caregivers to identify and fix problems that may compromise patient safety.

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