Leigh Cooper

Leigh Cooper, Sepsis Coordinator Nursing Award, Erin's Campaign for Kids Nursing Awards2018 Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Award Winner in the category of Sepsis Coordinator

The 2018 Erin’s Campaign for Kids Award, in the Sepsis Coordinator category, was awarded to Leigh Cooper, BSN, RN, from MountainView Regional Medical Center, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

This award goes to a sepsis coordinator who provides outstanding work in sepsis management. From educating the general public about sepsis awareness to ensuring that hospital staff know what to watch for and how to react, the sepsis coordinator plays an integral role in reducing sepsis deaths and long-term effects. Leigh was one of many deserving applicants for the award.

When Leigh became the sepsis coordinator for MountainView Regional Medical Center, she was determined to make a difference in the community and to provide residents with the confidence that the care they receive is truly the best evidence-based medicine they could get anywhere in the U.S. She set about to determine where the staff needed education, what resources they needed, and how best to develop the sepsis program. After much work, Leigh and her team of dedicated nurses and other health providers rolled out the sepsis initiative program.

In the 10 months since, sepsis identification in the emergency department rose from 30% to 86% of cases. The overall success rate rose from 35% to 74%. Nurses saw that when they identified possible sepsis and set the wheels of the sepsis program in motion, they saved lives. These successes inspire confidence and result in stronger motivation to provide a high level of care.

Leigh believes in the importance of education to make these changes. In her application for the award, she wrote: “As a previous biology teacher I still believe that we can’t expect change from people that aren’t educated to make changes. This is what I am seeing in our staff, from our techs and phlebotomists to nurses and providers – they are informed and engaged. We are identifying sepsis earlier and our mortality rate is getting better. Our senior community is being encouraged to take their health into their own hands and helps us help them. We are hearing the conversations had by the community, feeling confident in asking for help when they are ill and saying, “I think this might be sepsis.”

When asked how she felt about receiving the Erin’s Campaign for Kids award, Leigh said, “When I first heard about the win I was in disbelief, honored, and feeling undeserving because our success has not been from a solo journey but rather through consistent team work and many dedicated people who believed in the cause and the plan I put forward. This award is a huge moment not only for me and MountainView Regional Medical Center but for our community. This award signifies the beginning of our sepsis journey as a hospital and community, and I feel invigorated in continuing to demonstrate our success through early identification and treatment of sepsis. We are so excited!”

Congratulations to Leigh. Best of luck in your continued work in battling sepsis.