Project Firstline, a collaboration between the American Nurses Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently awarded Assistant Professor Edwin-Nikko Kabigting, PhD, and Clinical Assistant Professor Ani Jacob, DNP, an $8,000 educational grant to train nurses and nursing students on infection prevention and control.
The professors obtained the participation of the Adelphi University Student Nurses Association members, who underwent training to become “Infection Prevention and Control Champions,” including competency in such personal protective equipment (PPE) as garments, goggles and gloves—a familiar regimen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through Project Firstline training videos on hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 protocols and environmental disinfection, these student members also learned what to tell fellow students at pop-up tables to be periodically set up in high-traffic locations around the Garden City campus.
Dr. Kabigting said, “We have 11 champions from the freshman to senior level, trained and ready to go.” AUSNA’s first pop-up tables were set up in the Nexus Building lobby on March 30 and in the Ruth S. Harley University Center lobby on April 17. Posters called attention to CNPH’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Champions being available to offer pointers on “hand hygiene techniques” and “preventing the spread of bacteria” on campus.
Melody Yeung, CNPH senior and AUSNA president, described those first two events as “a success, reaching over 100 Adelphi students.” At each event, she said, “We had a poster where students wrote down one thing they learned from our event. And we gave out hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, hand lotion and first aid kits.”
Moreover, to drive home the importance of hand cleanliness, Yeung added, “We grew bacteria in the lab with the help of [professor of biology Benjamin Weeks, PhD], showcasing the bacteria growth before and after hand hygiene.”
Yeung also noted, “During our second tabling event, many students who came to the first event were talking about how they sanitize more often now. They told us that they sanitize their laptops every day before they go home.”
Drs. Kabigting and Jacob are looking forward to additional IPC table events at high-traffic sites on the Adelphi campus. Yeung said, “We plan to continue to host more table events for the fall semester, to reach more students. Other locations we are thinking of are the Center for Recreation and Sports and even the lawn between the University Center and Nexus.”
Dr. Kabigting said, “I can see this being extremely helpful for [the nursing students’] records and résumés.” He and Dr. Jacob have also urged their IPC Champions to present on this initiative at upcoming National Student Nurses’ Association events.
In addition, he and Dr. Jacob “have discussed dissemination through publications and through podium presentations of the success of the grant’s activities thus far.” He added, “The Eastern Nursing Research Society [ENRS] is certainly a possibility for a presentation [next year].”
Beyond the campus community, Drs. Kabigting and Jacob hope to be able in the future to visit local rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities. Dr. Kabigting said, “We are in the process of reaching out to a facility to have our IPC champions provide resources and discuss basic infection control principles with the staff, patients and visitors. This is Phase II of the grant, and we hope we can do this in the Fall 2023 semester.”
Project Firstline awarded grants to 14 other partner organizations nationwide in addition to CNPH.
According to the ANA website, Project Firstline—a recently formed partnership between the ANA and the CDC—seeks through training to protect U.S. healthcare professionals, including 4.2 million nurses, their patients and their communities “from infectious disease threats, such as COVID-19. An educated workforce is a powerful weapon to prevent healthcare-associated infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.”