Partnering to Heal is a computer-based, video-simulation training program on infection control practices for clinicians, health professional students, and patient advocates.

The training highlights effective communication about infection control practices and ideas for creating a “culture of safety” in healthcare institutions to keep patients from getting sicker. Users assume the identity of the following five main characters and make decisions about preventing Health Care-Associated Infections (HAIs):

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A Physician, Nathan Green, Director of a Hospital Post-op Unit, ready to start new prevention efforts in the unit;

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A Registered Nurse, Dena Gray, working to learn effective communications skills that could make the difference for her patients;

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An Infection Preventionist, Janice Upshaw, a new employee charged with using a team-based approach to reducing infections;

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A Patient Family Member, Kelly McTavish, whose father was just admitted to the hospital;

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A third-year Medical Student, Manuel Hernandez, who wants to gain confidence to make a difference for his patients.

Watch a clip from the training:

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How the training works

The training focuses on prevention of surgical site infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In addition, it includes information on basic protocols for universal precautions and isolation precautions to protect patients, visitors, and practitioners from the most common disease transmissions. The training promotes these key behaviors:

  • Teamwork;
  • Communication;
  • Hand washing;
  • Vaccination against the flu;
  • Appropriate use of antibiotics; and
  • Proper insertion, maintenance, and removal of devices, such as catheters and ventilators.

Users assume the identity of characters in a computer-based video-simulation and make decisions as each of those characters. Based upon their decisions, the storyline branches to different pathways and patient outcomes. The training may be used by groups in facilitated training sessions and by individuals as a self-paced learning tool. While each of the five character segments can be done in about an hour, it may be desirable to schedule more time in order to allow for extended discussion.

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A note to users

This dramatization was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in consultation with subject matter experts from various disciplines and sectors, as well as patient advocates. It is intended to increase awareness of the risks of health care-associated infections and the opportunities for preventing such infections. It is not intended to reflect common clinical care.

Certain scenes demonstrate a worst-case scenario of how lapses in medical judgment, communication, teamwork, and attention to infection control practices might impact patient outcomes. The intent is to provide a training tool for use by health professionals, students, patients, and their families about patient safety concepts, rather than provide an accurate or comprehensive depiction of conditions caused by specific pathogens.

Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician. Individuals are urged to consult with qualified healthcare providers for diagnosis and treatment and for answers to personal healthcare questions.

Reference in this training to any specific commercial project, process, service, manufacturer, company, or trademark does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. This training does not endorse specific commercial products or services.

This training provides hyperlinks to the websites of other Federal and State agencies and to private organizations. The inclusions of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health of the linked training resources or the information, products, or services contained therein. HHS does not exercise any control over the content of these sites.

This training is available only for non-commercial educational use.

If you have questions pertaining to the training, would like to partner in the promotion of the program or share with us how you have been using the training, please contact the Division of Health Care Quality at