Patient Safety Champion: Eileen McIntyre’s passion for keeping Cape Breton Regional Hospital clean and safe is infectious

Infection prevention and control professional Eileen McIntyre at Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
Infection prevention and control professional Eileen McIntyre at Cape Breton Regional Hospital (NSHA).

When patients are in hospital, it’s important to mitigate their risk of exposure to a hospital acquired infection during their stay.

Eileen McIntyre, an infection prevention and control professional in Cape Breton, understands the immense work this takes.

Working closely with many teams and the units she oversees at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, her job is to see that all measures related to infection prevention and control practices are in place to ensure patient safety.

“Patient safety is huge within the role that we play as health care workers, because we want to ensure that people don’t have adverse effects that might have been caused by being in a health care facility,” she explained.

While McIntyre’s days are busy reviewing cases with staff, surveilling patient safety indicators, and other tasks, she maintains that education is key.

“The biggest part is education – helping people be confident and engaged in supporting prevention and control practices,” she said.

Glenda Bowles, a health services manager for infection prevention and control for Nova Scotia Health Authority’s northern and eastern zones, has seen McIntyre’s commitment to promoting and engaging staff in patient safety firsthand.

“When Eileen completes her surveillance and gives feedback to front-line staff on specific units or in specific departments, she is very thorough,” Bowles said. “She educates staff one-on-one and in group huddles until they understand the connection between their action and ensuring patient safety.”

“If they really understand the root cause of how things get transmitted, then you can see them taking that responsibility on to ensure that their practices don’t breach what we know can cause transmission of organisms or infection,” McIntyre said.
Thank you, Eileen, for your hard work to promote and educate others on how to keep patients healthy and safe!