To the Editor—To paraphrase an African proverb, it takes a village to successfully reduce a healthcare facility’s rate of healthcare-associated infections. 1 Most people are aware of terms used for common groups of animals such as a “pack” of dogs, “school” of fish, “flock” of birds, and “herd” of horses. 2 , 3 Less common terms include a “scourge” of mosquitoes, a “parliament” of owls, a “crash” of rhinoceroses, a “dazzle” of zebras, a “murder” of crows, and a “tower” of giraffes. 2 , 3 Collective terms for groups of humans have also been used such as a “hastiness” of cooks, a “stalk” of foresters, a “bevy” of ladies, and a “pity” of prisoners. 4
Because infection prevention is a collective activity, we decided that such groups require specific names. Thus, we propose the following: a “cluster” of hospital epidemiologists, a “trust” of infection preventionists, a “colony” of microbiologists, an “intellect” of infectious disease specialists, and a “capsule” of pharmacists. Given that a group of nightingales is a “watch” and the importance of Florence Nightingale in the development of the nursing profession, we propose that a group of nurses be termed a “watch.” Alternatively, one could use the term a “devotion” of nurses. Although we should probably not publicize the following group names, we thought the following appropriate: an “irritant” of regulators, a “parsimony” of chief financial officers, a “pestilence” of vaccine deniers, and a “complexity” of EMR programmers.
We acknowledge the additional members of the Department of Hospital Epidemiology: Brooke Brewer, Judie Bringhurst, Mark Buchanan, Christa Clark, Cynthia Culbreth, Lauren DiBiase, Maria Gergen-Teague, Sherie Goldbach, Hajime Kanamori, Katherine Schultz, and Lisa Teal.
Financial support: No financial support was provided relevant to this article.
Potential conflicts of interest: All authors report no conflicts of interest relevant to this article.