The Project Protect Infection Prevention Fellowship: A model for advancing infection prevention competency, quality improvement, and patient safety

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HighlightsQI fellowships can expand the capacity of leaders and infection prevention champions.Program featured in-person and virtual education, mentorship and a capstone project.Expert mentorship assisted fellows in applying lessons learned to their organization.This model may be used in various settings and applied to many improvement projects.Fellowship highlighted two domains of the APIC Competency Model.BackgroundThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016 Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report documented no change in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) between 2009 and 2014. There is a need for investment in additional efforts to reduce HAIs, specifically CAUTI. Quality improvement fellowships are 1 approach to expand the capacity of dedicated leaders and infection prevention champions.MethodsThe fellowship used a model that expanded collaboration among disciplines and focused on partnership by recruiting a diverse cohort of fellows and by providing 1-on-1 mentoring to enhance leadership development. The curriculum supported the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Prevention Competency Model in 2 domains: leadership and performance improvement and implementation science.ResultsThe fellowship was successful. The fellows and mentors had self-reported high level of satisfaction, fellows’ knowledge increased, and they demonstrated leadership, quality improvement, and implementation science competency within the completed capstone projects.ConclusionsA model encompassing diverse educational topics, discussions, workshops, and mentorship can serve as a template for developing infection prevention champions. Although this project focused on CAUTI, this template can be used in a variety of settings and applied to a range of other HAIs and performance improvement projects.

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