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Keeping patients safe is a priority throughout USA Health, and nowhere more apparent than in Infection Control.
That makes a new role as Infection Prevention Coordinator a great fit for Kortni Kennell, who came to the new job from a position as a nurse educator and weight loss surgery coordinator.
“I’m passionate about Infection Control,” says Kennell. “As nurses we take an oath to protect and serve our patients — and an aspect of that is infection control.”
“Throughout the years, we have improved practices regarding infection control,” she says. “Ultimately our goal is to keep our patients safe while they are in our care.”
There’s no divided loyalty on the issue. “Not only is it the safe and right thing to do for patients, but it’s the right thing to do for the hospital and health system as well,” she says, noting that hospital-acquired infections are not only harmful to patients but also costly for the hospital.
In her new role, she’ll work to make sure staff members know and follow the best practices for prevention. She’ll review data to monitor for infection patterns that suggest an area for improvement. She’ll review professional literature on the topics and participate in conferences where various hospitals share their experiences and practices.
The changes means “stepping away from frontline care,” she says, noting that one of the advantages of professional nursing is the opportunity to explore different career paths. For Kennell, that means moving from the bedside to a “more scientific side of nursing.”
Kennell is one of the steering members of the first Shared Governance Council at USA Medical Center. She is the current chair of Nursing Practice Congress. Kennell is a recent graduate of the Alabama State Nurses Association Leadership Academy. For her work on the USA Medical Center Walking Path, she received the Citation of Excellence award in nursing from the Alabama State Nurses Association.
A Foley native, Kennell says she has planned on a career in nursing since she was young. She began her studies at Faulkner State Community College, then graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 2000.
She and her husband, Chris, live in Magnolia Springs. They have two daughters, Kambell, 12, and Krystin, 13, both of whom are softball pitchers and are very involved in school activities. The family spends a lot of time at the ball field. Kennell also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach and doing Crossfit.
As a state-certified Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center, University of South Alabama Medical Center serves as the major referral center for patients with traumatic injuries from southern Alabama, southeast Mississippi, and portions of northwest Florida. Last year alone, USA Medical Center served patients in 53 counties.
The Medical Center’s designated trauma team - which includes around-the-clock trauma surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, and neurosurgeons - treats an average of five critically injured patients a day, which is more than 1,700 people a year. As the go-to facility for the area’s toughest emergencies, USA Medical Center is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation. USA Medical Center is a part of USA Health.
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