Faulkton Area Medical Center located in Faulkton, SDWith each winter storm the desire for sunshine grows, but too much sun can become an equally difficult problem.  There’s a fine line between just enough and too much of even the best things. Healthcare professionals in Faulkton are working to close this gap of understanding between effective antibiotic use and the dangers of antibiotic resistance in their community.

Effective antibiotic stewardship is a community effort including providers, pharmacists and patients. Cheri Fast, RN, WOCN, program manager for Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN), has been working with Faulkton Area Medical Center and Faulkton Rexall Drug to raise awareness of antibiotic stewardship in this rural South Dakota town.

Cheri Fast“It is so important in smaller rural communities to engage every healthcare services provider, at every level, in antibiotic stewardship efforts,” declared Fast. “When more individuals are invested and involved, the facilities and the community see greater success for antibiotic stewardship.”

Local pharmacist, Paula Winther, RPH, completed an antibiotic stewardship certification consisting of self-study, online learning, live webinars and skills components. The program taught the essentials for the full range of antibiotic stewardship from microbiology and pharmacology to measuring community impact through outcomes and evaluation.

“As a pharmacist, I’ve always been engaged in antibiotic stewardship to some extent, but over the past couple of years, with all the news and information cycling regarding antibiotic resistance and inappropriate prescribing practices, I’ve developed a strong interest in making a difference,” Winther reflected. “We are a small hospital, but I think it’s important for all hospitals and clinics, big or small, to be on the same page when it comes to antibiotic use and the rise in resistance.”

Faulkton Area Medical Center located in Faulkton, SDFaulkton Area Medical Center (FAMC) hosts monthly medical staff education about antibiotic use and trends in addition to education on current best practices. Using the electronic record, staff members track antibiotic prescribing by diagnosis. While the clinic is focusing on upper respiratory infection and antibiotic prescribing trends, the local retail pharmacy, Faulkton Rexall Drug, serves as a patient advocate by providing education to patients and providers.

Sylvia Anderson, MD, is a local provider involved in the community effort, “The best part of our antibiotic stewardship program has been education.  If FAMC’s medical team understands when antibiotic use is appropriate, we can pass that knowledge on to our patients. By limiting the use of antibiotics now, we ensure our children and grandchildren will be able to treat their future bacterial infections.”

The medical community in Faulkton is clearly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s four core elements for antibiotic stewardship:

  1. Commit to antibiotic stewardship efforts
  2. Act on their commitment
  3. Track and report infections and antibiotic usage
  4. Educate providers and patients on appropriate antibiotic use

“Antibiotic stewardship allows our providers to protect our patients from unintended consequences while improving the patient outcome. We enjoy working together to prevent antibiotic resistance so that antibiotics continue to be effective!” added Kelly Baloun, RN, at FAMC.

“From the physicians and providers prescribing, to the pharmacist dispensing the medications, to the nurses that are administering and teaching, the lab personnel, housekeeping and patients themselves, we all have an important role to play,” Fast summarized.

Fast is one of the antibiotic stewardship content experts providing support and technical assistance though the Great Plains QIN. Locate state-specific content experts and find antibiotic stewardship tools and resources on our website.