Lyne St-Martin, Infection Prevention and Control Manager

By Denisse Campos

Some errors
occurred in the profile on Lyne St-Martin which appears in the print version of CHEZ NOUS . The author would like to appologize and invites you to read the following corrected version.

Since May 2009, Lyne St-Martin’s agenda has been rearranged by the appearance of the H1N1 virus. Other projects have been set aside for the time being since she and her team have had to devote all their energies to the development of an action plan to control the spread of this new flu strain.

Yellow information sheets distributed at the hospital entrance (and the security guard who reminds us to wash our hands as we enter and leave the building), disinfectant gel dispensers, and information sessions in the Amphitheatre are just a few of the initiatives that Lyne and her team have had to coordinate since H1N1 prevention has become her top priority.
Lyne has specialized in infection prevention and control since August 2003, and has been working as Infection Prevention and Control Manager for the MCH since December 2008. Her role has evolved over the years and includes a wide variety of responsibilities. As Infection Prevention and Control Manager, she plays a pivotal role in the organization, and interacts with every level in the hierarchy. That’s because when it comes to infection prevention, everyone’s involvement is essential.
Lyne has been a nurse for the past 21 years – with 20 of those here at MCH, including 14 years in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Emergency. A temporary replacement assignment brought her to the world of infection prevention. “That year, I discovered a new passion,” she recalls. “When the person I was replacing didn't return, I applied for the position. It has been – and continues to be – a fantastic learning experience, with something new every day. Since I wear many different hats, the work is anything but routine.”
Her roles are varied. As manager of the prevention program, she ensures that infection monitoring is carried out according to established norms. This includes the generation of reports which paint a picture of our performance as a hospital so that we can pinpoint any departments where action is required. “For example, might have to improve staff training efforts, change the type of products we use, or investigate more thoroughly to find a source of infection.”
With so much knowledge and experience, Lyne is an important resource person. “I am available for individual consultations with staff members, nurses, management, and occasionally with family members for particularly complex cases. I combine my experience together with relevant data to respond to their questions, and to keep them reassured and well informed.”
Staff education is one of her important roles. Whether she’s conducting formal information days or making her rounds, her mission is to promote an atmosphere of prevention. All of this adds up to a major challenge, not because of any lack of discipline on the part of staff but because there are so many employees, all of whom have numerous responsibilities on their plates and not always the time to think about it. “A prevention-oriented culture requires us to believe in this, to be convinced, and to act accordingly.”
According to Lyne, we are already sufficiently well disciplined, and generally well aware of the importance of infection prevention. “But we continue to see that there are opportunities for improvement in certain areas,” she reminds us. She points out that not everyone learns in the same way. “We have to deal with Generation X and Generation Y so it’s always a work in progress. But when I see colleagues taking the necessary precautions, I know I’ve done my job.”

Lyne is certainly very active here at the MCH. But she doesn’t stop once she leaves the building. She serves as president of the Association des Infirmières en Prévention des Infections (AIPI), and is a member of the Comité de prévention des infections en service de garde à l’enfance du Québec (CPISGEQ). She is also mother to three children, who, of course, wash their hands and practice correct respiratory etiquette!