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blood culture collection, blood cultures, clinical nurse specialist, contamination results, cost savings, diversion device, emergency department, nurses, quality improvement, shared leadership



  1. Burnie, Jeannie MS, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CEN, FAEN, FCNS
  2. Vining, Samantha MSN, RN, FNP-C


Purpose/Objectives: Blood culture collection is a common procedure performed in emergency departments. Rate of blood culture contamination is a metric that is tracked by organizations to ensure appropriate treatment for patients suspected of having bacteremia and ensure appropriate use of hospital resources. A team of nurses and technicians undertook a quality improvement project to decrease blood culture contamination rates in a suburban emergency department.


Description of the Project: The project included use of standardized blood culture collection kits, creation of a dedicated collection team, and implementation of a new blood culture collection device.


Outcome: Through this work, blood culture contamination rates decreased from greater than 3.0% to less than 1.5% consistently for nearly 24 months.


Conclusions: Providing feedback and continued monitoring has made this quality improvement initiative a success for the department and the organization and has resulted in cost savings of nearly 2 million dollars.