|Infection Control Manager to Receive International Award
ORANGEBURG, SC--Sonya Kay Ehrhardt, Infection Prevention and Control manager at the Regional Medical Center has been selected as one of next year’s recipients of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Heroes of Infection Prevention Award.
Sonya Kay Ehrhardt, Infection Prevention and Control manager at the Regional Medical Center has been selected to receive the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) “Heroes of Infection Prevention” Award. Her photo and a description of her initiatives will be included in APIC 2009 Heroes calendar.
“Sonya Kay Ehrhardt is indeed very deserving of this prestigious award,” said Janet Frian, 2008 APIC President. “As a 2009 ‘Hero,’ she has exhibited exceptional practice in handling infection prevention and control initiatives in your facility.”
“The entire Regional Medical Center family commends Sonya Kay on this international award and on the numerous infection control programs that she has successfully developed and implemented at this hospital,” said Tom Dandridge, Regional Medical Center CEO. “She is a proven asset to this facility, and we’re proud of her accomplishments and the recognition she has brought to our organization.”
As part of the award, Ehrhardt’s photo and a description of the winning initiative will be included in the “Heroes” calendar to be published in January 2009. She will also receive a complimentary registration to attend the APIC 2009 Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and recognition during the annual awards ceremony, held in conjunction with the conference.
Ehrhardt joined the Regional Medical Center in 1990 and held various nursing positions in the Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery, Postpartum and GYN, Pediatrics, Newborn Nursery, Wound Center, and Diabetic Education before becoming an Infection Control professional eight years ago. She holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of South Carolina, Upstate and an associate of nursing degree from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. She has been certified in Infection Control and Epidemiology since 2005. She is currently serving on the Hospital Infections Disclosure Act (HIDA) Advisory Committee for SC and has been a state and national member of APIC since 2000.
Ehrhardt was nominated for the APIC award by a fellow employee, Deborah Rider MLT, BS, ASCP a 34-year veteran of the Regional Medical Center Laboratory including roles as Microbiology Supervisor and Assistant Laboratory Manager. Rider recently joined the Infection Control Department.In her nomination, Rider described three infection control initiatives that Ehrhardt has successfully developed and implemented at the Regional Medical Center: the Sharps Safety program, the Hand Hygiene program, and establishing a unique partnership between the Infection Control Department and the Microbiology Department.
In her nomination Rider said, “Throughout the hospital we now have safety needles, scalpels, blood collection devices and more. Everyone has been trained on how to use the safety devices and all use them,” said Rider. “Getting over a thousand employees on board including doctors was not an easy job. Sonya was even the Sharps Safety Diamond Award winner for this project.” Regarding the hand hygiene program Rider said, “Hand hygiene is so important for the spread of bacteria, which in turn affects surveillance, which in turn affects the Laboratory Microbiology Department. Every employee was trained on the proper procedure and is currently being monitored to enforce their performances.”
Rider said that Ehrhardt was instrumental in developing a strong working partnership between the Infection Control and Microbiology departments. “Due to the numerous international attacks and the worldwide diseases that have developed in the past years, the Microbiology and Infection Control departments have had to advance enormous steps to stay ahead of the changes. Having this unique relationship enables our institution to function exceptionally in these times,” said Rider.
APIC’s mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The organization, which is based in Washington, DC, has more than 11,000 members world-wide and is led by an elected board of members who volunteer their time and expertise.