This blog post is part of a series titled Taking the Lead: An Inside Look at Eskenazi Health's Leadership. Different leaders throughout Eskenazi Health will be featured, giving an inside look at their work roles, backgrounds, passions and even hobbies. We hope you enjoy learning about some of the exceptional leaders Eskenazi Health is proud to employ.

Many of Eskenazi Health’s leaders were employed at a number of other places prior to joining the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. That list does not include Katie Swafford, who after experiencing open heart surgery at age nine, knew from that point forward she would someday become a nurse.

A mother of two boys (Chase, 11 and Blake, 8) who lives in Monrovia, Ind., Swafford is a career lifer at Eskenazi Health with nearly 18 years of experience. The director of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) at Eskenazi Health, Swafford’s duties include overseeing policies, practices and protocols focusing on reducing and preventing infection of patients seen at Eskenazi Health.

Swafford received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 2002 from Ball State University, and her Master of Science in nursing with a focus on adult health clinical nurse specialist in 2009, also from Ball State. Swafford received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Indiana University in 2019.

Since joining Eskenazi Health as a graduate nurse in 2002, Swafford served with distinction for 16.5 years in the Critical Care Department spending time as a staff nurse, a Clinical Nurse Specialist and also serving as a clinical manager.

Swafford’s duties as director of infection prevention and control include monthly departmental leadership rounds that allow for collaboration and visibility in the inpatient departments, and weekly physician rounding for collaboration between physicians and the IPC team. She is heavily involved in reviewing current and emerging infection prevention practices, oversees infection control practices related to construction projects and assists with staff education related to infection prevention. 

Patient safety and patient outcomes are two of the aspects of Swafford’s job she places the most emphasis on. Although she has the lead role in keeping patients safe from infection during hospitalization, Swafford believes achieving that goal is a team effort and that every single individual employed at Eskenazi Health has an impact on the safety and outcome of each patient.

A conscientious professional who likes a challenge, Swafford was told when she was hired at Eskenazi Health that ‘If she could work there, she could work anywhere.’ Swafford firmly believes in that statement and has embraced working as Eskenazi Health from the beginning, and she’s grateful for the skills she’s developed as a result of the complex and acute patient population she’s dedicated to protect. She believes Eskenazi Health is unique in providing care to the most vulnerable of patients.

Swafford believes she has grown substantially as a professional and has made an impact as a leader at Eskenazi Health. She values staff education and hopes that she has done her part to assist in the development of others throughout her career.

She is a member of a number of professional organizations including the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS).

When not at work, Swafford, who would like to be remembered as someone who is kind, helpful and supportive, is thoroughly involved with the sports exploits of her two sons, and she loves watching them compete. She also enjoys working in her yard.

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