Contact: Dawn Wolf-Taylor at 575.562.2403
PORTALES–Eastern New Mexico University Bachelor of Science Nursing Completion Program student Marti Heinze's article on the development and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs in small hospitals has been published in the April 2012 issue of Pharmacy Purchasing & Products.
She co-authored the article with her Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center (GCRMC, Alamogordo, N.M.) co-worker and GCRMC pharmacist Mary Jo Garst. Heinze has also presented the article, titled "Appropriate Antimicrobial Use at a Rural Community Hospital," as a poster at numerous national conferences throughout the U.S. Additionally, she is involved as a mentor for three rural hospitals in Tennessee, Iowa and Nebraska who are putting into practice the methods that the article outlines.
Heinze, an infection preventionist with GCRMC, works with physicians and other staff at her hospital to promote proper use of antibiotics. She ssaid that it is cost prohibitive for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics. Bacteria and other micro-organisms are becoming resistant to the antibiotics and other anti-infective medications currently available because these drugs are often over or improperly used. One goal of antimicrobial stewardship programs is to increase the length of time that current antibiotics can effectively treat existing and future strains of bacteria and disease.
"All affected prescribing partners must control or direct proper usage of antibiotics, and that's what antimicrobial stewardship is all about," she said. She explained that pharmaceutical companies are much more motivated to research and develop pharmaceuticals for chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension that aren't constantly changing and evolving, so new antibiotics are not a top priority.
With newly resistant infectious diseases and no new antibiotics to treat them, the proper use of antibiotics is becoming a top priority for hospitals. Programs to target this problem currently exist in many hospitals, and many have a physician or pharmacist on staff whose job focuses on accomplishing this task. Smaller and rural hospitals, however, usually do not have a dedicated infectious disease practitioner. The article Heinze researched and published addresses what these hospitals can do through intra-hospital cooperation at all levels of staff to combat the problem of improper use of antibiotic drugs. The article explores how small hospitals can influence prescribing patterns through interventions without the resources available at larger institutions, and that they can still exponentially impact patient outcomes.
Heinze said, "Work with what you have, start there. Little interventions have a big impact."
A nurse since 1976, Heinze first job was as an LPN in the ICU of a Wichita, Kan., hospital. She earned an ADN from Wichita's St. Mary of the Plains College in 1984. She has been involved with infection control since 2007 and has won numerous awards for her work; including being a "covergirl," as she describes it, for the November 208 issue of Infection Today.
Heinze is currently the New Mexico president of the Association of Professionals in Infections Control.
To read Heinze's article and to see the feature about her in Infection Today, go to http://www.enmu.edu/martiheinze.
Contact Heinze at GCRMC at MHeinze@gcrmc.org.