Celebrating Gina and why she matters

It is with heavy hearts that Healthcare Purchasing News reports the passing of one of the most dedicated Infection Preventionists in the healthcare industry that I’ve known, Gina Pugliese, RN.

Gina was full of energy, had a vibrant personality, and was dedicated to the cause of fighting infections. Armed with studies and her commitment to teaching she served in multiple clinical, teaching, nursing, hospital administration, safety, and all facets of infection control.

I would see her racing down the aisles at an Association of Professionals in Infection Prevention and Control (APIC) meeting, The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), or other teaching events. We’d always take a few minutes though to compare the accomplishments of our daughters.

Gina spoke at numerous conferences and published over 150 articles and 8 books. She was on the faculty for Rush University College of Nursing and University of Illinois, Public Health. She also served as an associate editor for the American Journal of Infection Control and the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Most recently she served as Vice President of the Safety Institute at Premier Healthcare Alliance. At the Premier Safety Institute, Gina shared with HPN this clever and creative campaign to remind all of us about something so fundamental, so basic. She wrote for us regularly, serving as our infection prevention voice of reason.

“The science is clear: Clean hands protect patients from life-threatening infections!” Gina wrote in her “SafetyShare” newsletter for Premier. “Dirty hands are a contributing factor in the spread of healthcare-associated infections that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day,” she wrote and apparently, a 4 percent ratio is not alarming enough to cause behavioral change.

“Despite the success in achieving 100 percent compliance with hand hygiene in many healthcare organizations,” she continued, “studies show that some healthcare providers perform hand hygiene less than half the time they should. So our work is not done yet.”

Indeed, it is not.

RIP Gina. We remember and salute you, and encourage others to follow your leadership.

Kristine Russell

EVP, Endeavor Business Media, LLC

Publisher, Executive Editor, Healthcare Purchasing News