Doctor washing hands

Hand washing and mask wearing are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to infection prevention practices. While COVID-19 expanded awareness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Project Firstline (PFL) is working to ensure every health care facility employee has the understanding and confidence to apply infection prevention and control at work and in everyday living.

Learning Needs Assessments and focus groups provide insight and feedback related to learning and delivery methods and existing skill sets. For example, healthcare professionals will require more advanced infection control guidance compared to individuals within the law enforcement arena. Developing content for different levels of complexity and providing flexible training delivery methods will create a foundation for a well-rounded infection prevention and control program that can be expanded on a larger scale.

North Dakota’s PFL launched a five-part training series on infection control and prevention beginning on June 14, 2021. The training sessions are designed to meet the unique needs for the project and organizations may email for information regarding group attendance.

Cheri Fast, RN, WOCN, South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) program manager for South Dakota’s PFL provided details on the intended reach for the state’s ongoing learning needs assessment.

“We have been working tirelessly to bring awareness of PFL to frontline healthcare workers, school nurses, fire fighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement and environmental services personnel.”

Cheri Fast, RN, BSN, WOCN, program manager for Great Plains QIN- SDWith a goal of 2000 responses by June 30, 2021, the initial assessment survey focused on learning needs and infection prevention comfort levels. The anonymous responses provide valuable feedback, and preliminary results indicate a strong need for more education in infection prevention as well as a desire for standardized policies, rules, and regulations.

“The data clearly shows the need for Project Firstline in South Dakota. Infection control principles matter every day, not just during a pandemic,” explained Fast. “Our influenza numbers have dropped considerably this year, and I believe we can make a difference in healthcare acquired infections, MRSA, and many other diseases by practicing good infection control principles. We know COVID-19 won’t be the last disease threatening our loved ones, so let’s get prepared now.”