Optimizing Antibiotic Treatment for Patients with Sepsis & The Critical Role of Nurses in Antimicrobial Stewardship

Session Descriptions: 

Optimizing Antibiotic Treatment for Patients with Sepsis:

Antibiotics are the cornerstone of treatment for bacterial sepsis, but too often patients are given antibiotics that are unnecessary, overly broad, used for unnecessarily long durations, and/or sub optimally dosed.  The goal of this presentation is to provide several concrete strategies to help clinicians optimize antibiotic use for patients with suspected and confirmed sepsis, including: 1) rapidly identifying patients that need immediate antibiotics, 2) recognizing the potential harms of antibiotics in order to prescribe them judiciously, 3) selecting the right empiric antibiotics once the decision has been made to treat, 4) obtaining adequate diagnostic and microbiologic testing, 5) considering prolonged infusion dosing strategies for beta-lactams, 6) de-escalating antibiotics as soon as feasible, and 7) shortening treatment duration by knowing the randomized controlled trials for specific infections. 

The Critical Role of Nurses in Antimicrobial Stewardship

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health threat leading to an estimated 700,000 deaths per year around the world. Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. Dr. Olans will address how fighting antimicrobial resistance means working together to keep drugs safe and effective against infection and sepsis, and how nursing can play a crucial role in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS).  

These sessions were originally presented in September 2021 as part of the 2021 Sepsis Alliance Summit.

Target Audience

Nurses, Advanced Practice Providers, Physicians, Emergency Responders, Pharmacists, Medical Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, Physical/ Occupational Therapist, Social Workers, Mental Health Professionals, Students, IT Professionals, Sepsis Survivors, Advocates, and more! 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, learners should be able to: 

Optimizing Antibiotic Treatment for Patients with Sepsis
  • Understand the strength of evidence supporting time-to-antibiotic targets in sepsis. 
  • Review potential adverse effects associated with antibiotics in hospitalized and critically ill patients. 
  • Discuss strategies to optimize antibiotic dosing and aid in antibiotic de-escalation and early cessation. 
The Critical Role of Nurses in Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Demonstrate awareness related to the antimicrobial resistance crisis.
  • Discuss antimicrobial resistance challenges in the treatment of infection and sepsis.
  • Define antimicrobial stewardship best practices. 
  • Identify the key role and responsibility of nurses in supporting antimicrobial stewardship. 
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.25 Participation
  • 1.50 RN CE Contact Hours
    Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP17068.
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Chanu Rhee, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute / Harvard Medical School

Dr. Rhee is an infectious disease physician, intensivist, and Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  His clinical and research interest is the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sepsis and infections in critically ill patients, with a particular focus on using electronic health record data to improve disease surveillance and quality of care.  Within the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, he has been an institutional leader in improving sepsis care, preventing healthcare-associated infections, and developing and implementing the infection control response to COVID-19.  As a CDC and AHRQ-funded investigator, he has led numerous studies that have advanced our understanding of sepsis epidemiology and improved the nation’s capacity to monitor its incidence and outcomes.  Dr. Rhee is a member of the editorial board for Critical Care Medicine and is involved in several regional and national committees focusing on sepsis, including the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium, the ACEP Sepsis Guidelines Panel, and the IDSA Sepsis Task Force.   


Associate Professor, MGH Institute of Health Professionals

Dr. Rita Olans is an Associate Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and is a practicing pediatric nurse practitioner hospitalist. Rita is a nationally recognized leader on nurses’ contributions to antimicrobial stewardship.  She has several publications in the nursing and medical literature, is a contributor to the National Quality Partners (NQP) Playbook for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Acute Care, and the NQP Playbook: Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Post-Acute and Long-Term Care. She is a co-author of the ANA/CDC White Paper defining the nurse’s role in stewardship. Rita consults as a technical expert to the AHRQ CUSP Safety Programs for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Acute Care Settings and Ambulatory Setting. She was invited by The Joint Commission, Pew Charitable Trust, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Hospital Association, and National Quality Forum to present on how nurses contribute to antimicrobial stewardship. She is a frequent presenter to pharmacists, physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, microbiologists, public health officials, and regulatory bodies.  

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP17068 for 1.5 contact hours.

Other healthcare providers will receive a certificate of attendance for 1.25 contact hours.

Medical Disclaimer

The information on or available through this site is intended for educational purposes only. Sepsis Alliance does not represent or guarantee that information on or available through this site is applicable to any specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content on or available through this site does not constitute medical advice from a physician and is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare provider. Sepsis Alliance recommends users consult their physician or healthcare provider regarding any questions about whether the information on or available through this site might apply to their individual treatment or care.

Available Credit

  • 1.25 Participation
  • 1.50 RN CE Contact Hours
    Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP17068.
Please login or register to take this course.


This activity includes the following for each session:

  • Pre-test 
  • Slides to download
  • Pre-recorded webinar
  • Post-test
  • Evaluation

All components must be completed for each session to earn a certificate of attendance. This course can be completed at your convenience.