Answering the call: Angie Dains, infection preventionist, keeps workspace and break room areas safe

Angie Dains, infection preventionist

During Angie Dains’ regular work life, the importance of preventing infection is essential. Now, due to the realities of COVID-19, Dains is one of many health care employees who have found themselves putting in extra hours and taking on additional roles to help maintain safety.

Dains, who has a bachelor’s in nursing, has worked as an infection preventionist (IP) for two years and has been with UI Health Care 20 years overall. As part of the Program of Hospital Epidemiology, she and other IPs conduct surveillance and work with all departments in preventing infections within our hospitals and clinics. To do so, Dains and the team regularly communicate with nursing staff, physicians, patients, and families.

“I view our position as providing support to our staff, making sure that our health care workers know all the things they should do to prevent infections,” she says. “I really enjoy the variety and working with multidisciplinary teams.”

Since June, Dains has also taken on an additional project as part of UI Health Care’s We Stand for Safety initiative.

Her role along with the IP team has been determining how to create safe areas for staff to take breaks or to spread out from a typically more-confined workspace. She’s helped to create rounding tools and checklists to make sure inpatient and outpatient units are safe for staff.

“It’s a useful tool to make sure they have COVID-19 safety in place, not just for employees but for patients and visitors,” she says.

Dains and her project partner, Andy Kuse, management services manager with Engineering Services, have visited most areas of the hospital, reviewing break room and workroom spaces and providing recommendations for modification, which have often included plexiglass installation.

Dains enjoys doing these rounds and collaborating with all areas of the hospital.

I thought after 20 years I’d seen everything at the hospital, but I had not. I’ve met some really great people through those visits.

— Angie Dains

Years from now when she looks back on the pandemic, Dains says what she will remember most is how “the University of Iowa has really pulled together.”

“It’s been challenging, but we’re lucky that we have a really great staff,” she says. “We have nine IPs, and we do a good job of supporting each other. We have great leadership here, from our CEO to our epidemiologists led by Dr. Jorge Salinas, who are doing an outstanding job with being up to date on the latest information and helping guide us. Seeing everyone pull together has really been a bright spot in all of this.”