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Infection Preventionist Joins Department of Patient Safety, Quality, Infection Control and Accreditation

In January of 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic still severely impacting the healthcare industry, Brittany Herrick, BSN, RN, made a major life change—moving from Maine to Boston to take on a new role at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital as Infection Preventionist.

She has no regrets.

“I like everything about my job,” she says. “I have the support I need, but I also have the opportunity to grow and explore.”

In Maine, Herrick explored many roles within healthcare before finding her passion in Infection Prevention. She worked as a CNA before earning her BSN from the University of Southern Maine. As a nurse, she developed an interest in caring for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and eventually rose to the role of Director of Nursing Services at Bridge Support Services. But, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, her focus changed. She found her interests lay in the science. “With bacteria and viruses, you can read about them all day and still find things that you didn’t know,” she says of her new passion. As a result, she decided to pursue a new avenue, briefly taking on the role of Infection Preventionist with the City of Portland before finding her current position with BWFH.

As a member of the Department of Patient Safety, Quality, Infection Control and Accreditation, Herrick now works closely with every member of her department as well as Associate Hospital Epidemiologist Roger Clark, DO. “It’s wonderful to have him as a mentor,” says Herrick. “This is his domain and he is an expert.”

Herrick is learning every day from Dr. Clark, as well as from her own daily work. As Infection Preventionist, she starts her day by looking for those patients whose infection status can be resolved. She also keeps track of patients on precautions and what their precautions are. Each day she chooses a unit to visit, auditing signage, hand hygiene and PPE use. She also investigates any and all hospital-acquired infections and reports them to the National Healthcare Safety Network if needed.

These are just a few of her daily responsibilities, all aimed at keeping patients and staff safe.

Passionate about her work, she is already making strides to decrease infection rates within our hospital. In a new initiative, called “A Day in the Life,” she shadows staff members in various departments. On her first Day in the Life, she visited the Environmental Services Department, identifying best practices and gaps in infection prevention that could put staff and patients at risk. She is now working with the department to establish a comprehensive policy that can be shared with everyone on staff.

She has also established a page service. If you have any infection prevention questions—environmental concerns, questions about precaution status, information on donning and doffing PPE, etc.—page 61695.

For Herrick, leaving Maine has been a huge step forward in her career. But, with the pandemic still impacting daily life and preventing social activity, she says, “I don’t feel like I’ve moved to the city yet.” For now, after work, she keeps busy settling into her new apartment, walking her dog and painting.

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