Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake Trustworthy, committed, leads by example, encouraging… these words are a small sampling of the numerous ways colleagues describe Cynthia Ruddell, manager of infection prevention at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake. It is Ruddell’s task to track and report infection control data to the staff and physicians of the hospital. Because of her endless efforts and commitment to educate and communicate the importance of infection prevention, Texas Health Southlake has seen a dramatic reduction in its rate of infection. Leading a team of champions from all areas of the hospital, Ruddell is able to remind all staff how important hand hygiene and other infection prevention measures are in keeping everyone safe and healthy. “Her consistent creative, bright and informative signage and reminders are helpful to all in remembering our responsibility to always be mindful of infection prevention practices,” says Annette McClasky, laboratory manager of the hospital. “There is no greater calling than to become part of a team that is focused on patient safety and being a patient advocate,” says Ruddell. “It is exciting to be in a work environment where you are encouraged to never stop learning, developing or striving to improve.” What drew you into the health care field? I became interested in becoming a nurse when I was five years old. A dear family friend was the director of nurses in the same hospital where I was born. I will never forget the day my mom took me into her office for a visit. She was wearing a starched white uniform and cap and she gave me a white leather Bible for nurses. She was so kind and capable and she took the time to explain how rewarding it was to help patients. I was so impressed with her and my future was sealed. What is your biggest inspiration? Professionally, I have had the distinct honor of working with three infectious disease physicians during the formative years of my career that have been so inspirational to me. They truly epitomized professionalism, compassion and unfailing integrity. Despite their highly esteemed leadership positions, they treated me as a colleague and would ask for my input. Even with impossible schedules, they always made time to assist me or discuss an issue. They were so influential to me in the field of epidemiology and infection prevention. They were the most humble of individuals and never strayed from always focusing on the patient. I will always be thankful for the education they gave to me. Personally, I am absolutely and without a doubt [inspired by] my mother and father. I feel like the luckiest person in the world, as they were steadfast and never let me down in any aspect of my life. They were loyal, solid, filled with common sense, and made the best of every situation. I feel so blessed and honored just to be their daughter. What’s your best advice for people getting into health care? If your “true north” is to be able to make a difference every day, you have found your calling. Never forget the true heroes are the patients. Every single day they face challenges and some are life changing. There are no words to express what a difference you can make with a true heart for compassion. To serve patients is an honor. – Lisa Logan
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Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.
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