Sepsis Coordinator Network Growing, Providing Resources for Healthcare Professionals

December 12, 2019

The Sepsis Coordinator Network (SCN) keeps growing and providing education for healthcare professionals who work toward improving sepsis care in their facility and/or the community. The SCN was launched in May 2018 after months of consultation, with the goal of providing a free and safe space for healthcare providers to learn about the latest information regarding sepsis care and to discuss issues related to sepsis, whether they be to set up or facilitate a sepsis response team, drawing up protocols, or hands-on patient care.

Within weeks of the launch, it became apparent that the SCN filled an important need. In only 18 months, the network has grown to well over 2,000 members, representing 1,780 hospitals and facilities, and almost 600,000 hospital beds. While most participants are nurses, the SCN is open to any healthcare provider who is interested in improving sepsis care. Kathy Madlem, BSN, RN, a sepsis quality improvement coordinator in California, is on the SCN advisory board. She often recommends the network to the nurses in her facility. “I share the website with all of them and tell them, even though it’s called the Sepsis Coordinator Network, it’s not just for coordinators,” she explained. “It’s for anyone who has a passion or interest in sepsis and wants to learn more. But you don’t have to be a coordinator.”

Recent Survey Results

In order to measure the impact of the SCN, Sepsis Alliance performed a program assessment, asking SCN members about the network and its effect on their work. This assessment showed that 80% of those who responded said the SCN has helped them make improvements in sepsis care within their facility or team. The network allowed participants to learn about best practices at other facilities and with the site as a resource, they didn’t feel that they had to start all over when trying to improve sepsis care.

Other comments included:

  • “It’s helped me understand the process better, and be more proactive about advocating for sepsis discharge education.”
  • “Helped to validate what areas we struggle with and it is nice to hear what has worked at other facilities.”
  • “I was new to the role and immediately had a place I could go to meet other coordinators and do a gap analysis of our program.”
  • “Using resources to help guide our local sepsis committee; the information helps to clarify some of the issues and provides ideas on how to improve our care.”

In addition to the forums, where this information is exchanged, the SCN offers valuable resources, including webinars, fact sheets, sample job descriptions, protocol guidelines, toolkits, and more. “The good thing about this network is you might go in with a different agenda item on your mind, but after viewing posts in the forums or Q&A, or seeing one of the webinars, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I need that too’,” said Madlem. “You never know what you’re going to find or that you could find useful.”

Nurses and other healthcare professionals are busy and they may believe they don’t have time to join yet another group or online forum. Madlem pointed out that the SCN is different from other sources of information. “You can belong to other websites and forums, but it’s not necessarily the same kind of environment,” she said. “When I first started in this role almost eight years ago, we participated in a local collaborative where we had national and international speakers. They would come and help guide us on the right path. Now the Sepsis Coordinator Network is sort of an extension of that. We have access to this knowledge base that’s already been established so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have this library of information with all of these people that can help you and you’re not alone.”

More to Come

An important aspect to an offering like the SCN is the growth and expansion of the information that the site can provide. Suggestions from participants are always welcome and they often result in new content or programs. As part of the survey, members offered some suggestions that could help the SCN provide an even broader scope of educational materials, such as:

  • A video that shows the triage process, as well as admission treatment, ongoing family and patient education, and a discharge plan
  • Information about the secondary effects of sepsis, which could include strokes, myocardial infarctions, and pulmonary embolisms
  • Support and assistance for research into neonatal sepsis
  • Resources on collecting data and how to measure overall performance
  • EMR specific abstraction help

Getting the maximum benefit

Joining a new group may be overwhelming for some people, especially in the forums where some people have been present for a while and some participants have much more experience than others. But since the SCN is a place to learn, new members are encouraged to join in and look at all the resources available. “ Check out the webinars,” Madlem said. “Do as many as you can. Take advantage of them because they’re great – and they’re free!”

Even if you’re new in your role, you may have information that others can use too, Madlem explained. So along with asking questions, there may be some you can answer. “New members may not feel like they have the answer, but I think as soon as people start answering questions, they start to feel a little bit better about participating and asking their own questions. It’s good to share what works and what doesn’t work. I think some people might be hesitant but this is a forum for you to share what you do and if it works, great. Share it with the rest of us. It might work for somebody else.”