Elevating Infection Prevention: The Shift Coach Program Takes Center Stage

Shift coach program participant donning ppe

Infection prevention and control practices are the backbone of healthcare safety, and infection preventionists (IPs) are the unsung heroes leading the charge. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a glaring reminder of the pivotal role IPs play in safeguarding residents, staff, and visitors. It’s a true “team sport,” and effective infection prevention requires seamless collaboration.

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in an engaging in-person workshop for Long-term Care and Assisted Living Infection Preventionists in Little Rock, Arkansas. The spotlight shone brightly on a game-changing quality improvement strategy – The Shift Coach Program. Designed to strengthen adherence to infection control practices, this program fosters a culture of safety modeled by the IP and spread by a dedicated army of Shift Coaches.

Seeing over 200 real faces (yes, real!) was an absolute treat after the virtual norm of the past few years. This event was a collaborative effort between the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Healthcare Association, and the American Healthcare Association.

Together with Margie McLaughlin, Healthcentric Advisors Director of Education and Quality Initiatives, we crafted an immersive all-day workshop that combined strategies for adopting the Shift Coach program with 10 Key Infection Prevention strategies to keep residents safe. We provided resources, tackled challenges head-on, and even injected some interactive fun with a basic infection control practices competency race. The room erupted with laughter and lively chatter as participants donned PPE in a race against the clock!

As part of the program, participants received two influential books: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and “The Leader You Want to Be” by Amy Jenn Su. Unlike conventional IP&C training programs, Healthcentric Advisors promotes the adoption of daily personal habits like rounding and organizing huddles– habits that can revolutionize healthcare delivery.

We’re excited to see how our participants put the Shift Coach Program into action during our weekly office hours webinars, as we journey back from the East Coast to Arkansas for an impactful, in-person outcomes meeting in late April.

If you’re an infection preventionist eager to learn more about the Shift Coach Program and how it can transform your facility’s approach to infection control, we invite you to reach out to us. Together, we can build a safer, more resilient healthcare ecosystem.

Contact us today to explore how the Shift Coach Program can empower your infection prevention efforts.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Casey, Healthcentric Advisors
Mary Ellen Casey

Sr. Quality Improvement Manager, Infection Preventionist, Healthcentric Advisors

Ms. Casey has over 37 years of experience in acute care, community and public health with a focus in infectious disease. Her primary area of focus has been prevention and control of infectious disease. Ms. Casey brings her expertise in prevention training to Healthcentric Advisors as she works with providers in acute care settings, long-term care settings and clinics introducing initiatives to prevent the spread of healthcare associated infections (HAI).

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