Meet Tracy Lowerre
2019 Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Award Winner: Pediatric Nurse Category
One of the two 2019 Erin’s Campaign for Kids Awards in the category of Pediatric Nurse was awarded to Tracy Lowerre, BSN, MS, a nurse clinician at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Health in Richmond, Virginia. This award goes to a pediatric nurse who is dedicated to furthering sepsis care and management in his or her facility and community.
Aside from working in the pediatric ICU for almost 20 years, Tracy is the co-chair of the Pediatric Sepsis Committee at her facility. Her interest in sepsis comes from watching the cascade of events that can happen with severe sepsis, when it is usually too late to do anything. “One sepsis death is too many,” she wrote in her application.
Tracy has been involved in several initiatives, the most recent one was to move beyond using the manual screen and huddle to using the Cerner Screen. Working closely with the hospital leadership, the IT department, and the units, she ensured that the tool worked well within the system. She also helped develop an electronic Huddle Tool that goes along with the screening, to improve documentation and treatments for septic patients.
Tracy was also instrumental in helping change processes that improved antibiotic administration times within the system. “To do this, we changed many of processes: being able to pull antibiotics from the Pyxis instead of waiting for pharmacy, working with all teams to determine which antibiotics would be on override in the Pyxis machines, feedback to all staff when their antibiotic was given on time or outside of the hour, feedback to providers for correct/incorrect ordering of stat antibiotics.”
When asked how her work changed her facility’s approach to sepsis care overall, Tracy responded, “We celebrated National Sepsis Awareness Day for the last 2 years. I have been responsible for organizing a Grand Rounds, had a parent speak who had a child die from sepsis, informational tables set up in the hospital lobby, session for patients and families to come learn about sepsis, set up mock fluid bolus stations, and I/O education.”
There has been a greater emphasis on sepsis education and prevention over the past several years in her facility, and this shows in their improvement in antibiotic to patient time. Over the last 7 quarters, they have had more than 70% of all new stat IV antibiotics administered within 60 minutes of the order.
Tracy is now reaching out beyond the children’s hospital itself to units in the system that have children, such as the units for burns, bone marrow transplants, and epilepsy. She is working with the teams and sees herself as the go-to person for anything sepsis. “If I do not know the answers, I will dig to try to find the correct person to connect someone with. I also am a member of the Society of Pediatrics local chapter. I have brought some of the infusion tools with me to these meetings to increase awareness in the community,” she added.
Upon learning she won Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Award in the category of Pediatric Nurse, Tracy said she felt, “Stunned, speechless….and so honored. If it was not for the collaboration and commitment of the interdisciplinary team and hospital leadership, this work would not be possible”
Although there are no definite plans, Tracy will speak with the sepsis committee to see if they have any other ideas, but she has a few options for using her grant, such as expanding the educational materials she has for Sepsis Awareness Day, invest in simulation equipment for staff training, and to provide sepsis education information for families, particularly for those who are in the high-risk groups for infection.