May 5, 2011

NICU marks 200-day milestone without central line infection

NICU marks 200-day milestone without central line infection

At the start of each day, nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt post an important number for all to see.

The highly visible number—hung by the nurses’ station—represents how many days the NICU has gone without the report of a central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI).

The unit recently marked a new achievement: 200 days.

Staff held a breakfast to celebrate the milestone, which shattered their previous record of 100 days without a CLABSI event – set one year ago.

As of Friday, April 29, the unit reached 218 days.

“This accomplishment is truly exciting,” said Eric Sullivan, R.N., M.S.N., clinical nurse educator. “Prior to 2009, the NICU averaged a CLABSI about once a week.”

At any given time in the NICU, numerous patients require a central line for long term IV access. During the span of 200 days, the NICU cumulated over 5,800 central line days. Each day a patient has an indwelling central line equates to one central line day.

The NICU’s success has been a product of collaboration among leadership and staff who pored over details, implemented new interventions and searched for ways to prevent infections.