She Enjoys Educating Staff, Patients about Caring for Themselves
Tess Hendricks is an infection prevention practitioner at Shawano Medical Center, where she dedicates her time to monitoring and improving infection prevention efforts among both staff and patients. Hendricks’ job involves checking to ensure that patients who have been admitted with an infectious disease, like pneumonia or multi drug resistant organisms (MDRO), have the proper signage on their door that alert staff and other visitors to special precautions. Depending on the infection, this can mean wearing masks, gloves and gowns to enter the patient’s room.
“My No. 1 job is still to ensure that patients and staff are washing their hands before entering and leaving a patient’s room. My job is to prevent infections from being spread in the medical center,” Hendricks said. Her duties also include compiling and sending communicable disease statistics to public health agencies.
When infection rates are minimized, related benefits are increased, such as Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for the medical center. “Payment rates are increasingly tied to our ability to prevent infectious disease from spreading inside our health care facilities,” Hendricks said.
While Hendricks doesn’t have extensive direct contact with patients, she enjoys the invitation to educate patients about caring for themselves and their families once they leave the hospital. “I’m called upon to teach patients how to clean their houses, manage their bandages, and prevent infecting people who live with them,” she said.
Hendricks has worked for ThedaCare since 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medical lab science from the University of Cincinnati. She worked in the medical lab in Shawano for five years and recently contributed to the development of new laboratory software for ThedaCare members. Hendricks rejoined Shawano Medical Center in November 2013 in her current role.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.