Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Safety and Infection Control is Everyone’s Business

 Barb Garnica, RN 

Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

As the Manager of Safety and Environment Services for both the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center and the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center, Barb Garnica, RN, is focused on creating a safe environment for you. This is no small task.

The comprehensive program she oversees includes ongoing observation, and investigation as well as prevention measures to control infections and communicable diseases. It is based on recommendations from nationally recognized organizations and government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Following these guidelines ensures that our patients are provided a safe and sanitary environment of care.

Her work, along with a dedicated staff, creates an outpatient experience that is safe for everyone. In fact, recently the Surgery Center exceeded the rigorous federal quality reporting requirements of a new national reporting program introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“As the national trend is making its way toward innovative outpatient care performed in facilities designed specifically for outpatient surgery, the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center is exceeding the national quality reporting benchmarks,” said Michael Patterson, President and CEO of Mississippi Valley Health and President of the Iowa Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers. “This success can be greatly attributed to the experienced and caring staff who offer patients an experience they can feel good about.”

While Barb and her team play a critical role in infection control at the Surgery Center and Endoscopy Center, she likes to think of the task of staying safe and infection free as “everyone’s business.”

“Our patients enjoy being able to go home a few hours after their procedure,” said Garnica. “As a result, we take a two-pronged approach to creating a safe environment. First, we implement preventative measures while patients are with us. Then, we work closely with our patients and caregivers to educate them about the ways they can minimize infection during their recovery at home.”

Here are some ways patients can help foster safe practices while in a health care facility and at home:


  • Be prepared to identify yourself: Patient identification is the practice of having the patient involved in identifying themselves in at least two ways — such as name and date of birth. This is essential in improving the reliability of the patient’s identification process. As a patient, have identification ready during the
  • pre-admission process.
  • Catheter: If you have a catheter in your bladder or vein, tell your nurse if it becomes loose or painful.
  • Bandages: If you have a bandage (sometimes called a “dressing”), let your nurse know when it gets wet, loose, or feels uncomfortable.
  • Hand hygiene: This is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Coughing: Sneeze and cough into your elbow or tissue to minimize the spread of bacteria.
  • Cleanliness: Make sure the area where you are recovering is clean. If you are unable to clean yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you with this process.
  • Take notes: Ask your doctor if there are special instructions for caring for your incision after you go home. Write down the details and be sure to ask follow-up questions if you don’t fully understand.

Lastly, caregivers play an important role. Here are some tips for those visiting any health care facility or caring for others after any procedure:

  • Hands off: Don’t touch the patient’s dressings, medical equipment, or supplies unless you have been given specific instructions by the patient’s doctor or nurse.
  • Visiting the patient bedside: Don’t sit on the patient’s bed as this may enhance the spread of germs. It’s better to pull up a chair and sit down next to them.
  • Know when to stay away: Don’t visit or care for another person if you are feeling ill.

The compassionate teams that care for you and your family are there to help make your experience one you’ll feel good about; they encourage patients and their loved ones to ask questions and provide feedback to ensure the best possible outcomes.


To learn more about the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center and Endoscopy Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter.