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Employee Perspectives on Hand Hygiene
One Hand at a Time
Selected by their peers for their strong commitment to practicing proper hand hygiene and for encouraging others to do the same, these hand hygiene champions from across Johns Hopkins Medicine share why they believe keeping your hands clean is so important.
All Children’s Hospital
Pallavi Iyer, M.D.
Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes
Children with Type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk for complications from infections. Whether she is seeing patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or in the Outpatient Care Center, Dr. Iyer always practices proper hand hygiene to protect her young patients.
Jasmin Matamoros, RN
Jasmin never knows what she’ll be facing each time a child walks through the doors of the emergency center. Her next patient may have a routine illness like the flu or that child may have leukemia, meningitis or another life-threatening illness. By practicing good hand hygiene, Jasmin keeps her patients safe no matter what their diagnosis may be.
Howard County General Hospital
Revenue Cycle Analyst
“I advocate hand hygiene so enthusiastically that my co-workers tease me and call me the infection control officer instead of what I am–a financial analyst. I give out tissues and hand sanitizer all during cold and flu season. In order to receive these items, my co-workers have to make a pledge to practice healthy habits, like hand washing, covering their coughs, staying at home if they have a fever, and so on. I make it fun for them.”
Peggy Medoff, RN
Maternal Care Unit
“I give sibling tours for families who are expecting second, third and fourth babies. The children are very receptive to all the information we give them about baby care. When I ask each group of children to name the one thing they can do to help keep themselves and their new babies healthy the number one thing they tell me is washing their hands.”
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Chanelle Allen, Patient Care Technician
Carol Ball Medicine Unit
“Next to Godliness is cleanliness. I want my hands to be clean because I know how much it matters in protecting patients, co-workers and my family. I have children at home, and I certainly don’t want to spread germs to them either.”
“Hand hygiene is important because it affects everyone you touch—patients, co-workers, doctors. It’s about making sure patients are safe. I try to just be an example. I care about hand hygiene, and you should too.”
Christine Barton, RN
Carol Ball Medicine Unit
“I follow the Golden Rule with hand hygiene: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. I truly believe that good hand hygiene is the number one thing I can do to protect my patients. I encourage my co-workers by giving them the gift of clean hands. I bought each of them a hand sanitizer and fun holder for it. I also recognize them when they are ‘caught in the act’ of cleaning their hands.”
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians Group
Nichole Jantzi, RN
JHCP - Montgomery Grove
“I don’t have direct patient contact, so for me hand hygiene is about keeping myself and my co-workers well so we aren’t shorthanded with people sick at work. We are still negatively impacting patient care if we are out sick.”
Crystal Nothey, Registered Medical Assistant
JHCP - Odenton
“I believe hand hygiene is important for your safety, as well as the others around you, to stop the spread of germs. I try to lead by example to encourage my co-workers to wash their hands. This time of year is such an important time.”
Johns Hopkins HealthCare
“I’ve been a self-proclaimed hand hygiene fanatic for many years. It all started when I worked in blood services with the American Red Cross. I advocate for hand hygiene because I realized just how important it is in the prevention of illness. When my mother was very sick, I knew I had to take extra precautions when I cared for her. Today, I care for my elderly in-laws.”
Johns Hopkins Home Care Group
Lori Jayne, RN
Nurse Case Manager
“I’m working with children. My children are my life, and when I touch someone else’s child, I’m putting their life in my hands. Hand hygiene is such a simple thing to do to affect people’s lives. It’s about trust. I am sure to wash my hands in front of the families so they can see and follow suit. Teaching is a big aspect of what I do, so I am teaching parents good hand hygiene by example.”
Tammy Siedlecki, RN
Nurse Case Manager
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I don’t think we realize how fortunate we are in the hospital to have access to hand sanitizer and soap. I care for people in their homes and one home I went into, they only had watered-down soap and no paper towels. A lot of our patients can’t afford them; so, I supply them with hand sanitizers.”
Deborah Williams, RN, MPH
Infection Prevention Nurse
“I’m an infection preventionist. Hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent infection, before anything else. With the impending cold and flu season, there needs to be a higher attention to hand hygiene to prevent transmission of these diseases.”
Sibley Memorial Hospital
Helene Hemus, RN
“As one of the first secret shoppers for Sibley, I’ve spent a lot of time observing people washing their hands. One employee in particular did so well. She never missed once in a whole year! I sent her an anonymous note to thank her.”
Dorothy Shi, RN
“We work with patients with infected wounds, so teaching proper skin care is an important part of what we do. Germs are everywhere, so we should do everything we can to protect patients and set an example for them.”
Food Services Technician
“In the Food Services Department it’s very important that we use proper hand hygiene when preparing and handling meals for patients. I try to set an example for others. If I see that someone is non-compliant, then I may talk to them or help arrange additional training for the department.”
Main Entrance Ambassador
“I always tell people not to forget to sanitize their hands on their way out of the hospital: Foam and don’t take it home. That seems to make people smile. If I can take someone’s mind off of their worries—and help keep them healthy— then hopefully I can make a difference.”
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Betty Howard, RN
Medicine Intensive Care Unit Nurse
“I feel very strongly that it’s our responsibility to monitor not only coworkers, but also visitors and staff from other parts of the hospital. Often they’re rushed and hand hygiene is the last thing they think about. That’s when staff can remind them: You really need to do this for our patients. If you don’t, you’ll carry those germs with you for the rest of the day.”
Mohamad Atta, M.D., MPH
Dialysis Center Medical Director
“In the dialysis center hand hygiene is challenging because patients are in a common area instead of separate rooms, so you have to remember to wash your hands between each patient. My role is to be a role model for fellows and residents so they follow me and see me doing this. Now staff pay attention and will speak up if they see someone who didn’t do hand hygiene.”