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Celebrating 30: Human resources director sees big changes in infection control

Celebrating 30: Human resources director sees big changes in infection control

The Greenville Shriners Hospital was located on Pleasantburg Drive for 62 years; then, in 1989, the hospital relocated to its current building on West Faris Road. The following is the first in a seven-part series highlighting employees who made the move to the new location 30 years ago, and documents the exciting changes they have witnessed over the past three decades.


It was March 13, 1989 when Willis Tisdale, a Citadel graduate and the father of two elementary-school aged children, first walked through the doors of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville. While already an experienced human resources professional, Tisdale’s prior experience was in manufacturing.

“Making the move to health care, especially at a children’s hospital with such a worthwhile mission, was a welcomed change for me,” said Tisdale. “And just a few months later, in July 1989, came another big change – relocating to a brand new facility.”

Tisdale says while there was great excitement around the move to a strikingly modern building from the structure that had housed the hospital since 1927, it was also an emotional transition for many longtime employees. Tisdale packed up the entire contents of the human resources department in the bed of a 1979 pickup truck and drove the 5-plus miles south.

The move to a different address would not only mark a new chapter in the physical location of Tisdale’s office, but also an evolution in what jobs were most consequential in health care.

“When we first moved, infection control – at least as everyone in the industry knows and values it today – was not the same,” Tisdale said. “It was a part-time position in 1989. However, in the mid '90s it transitioned to a full-time opportunity. It has now become one of the measures of our success of which we are most proud.”

In fact, the Greenville Shriners Hospital has one of the lowest reported infection rates among comparable facilities in the world. Notably, the hospital has achieved a 0% infection rate for spinal fusion surgeries over the past five years.

“We know that when folks send their son or daughter to us for treatment, they need to be confident that they will have a safe experience,” Tisdale said.

No longer the father of two young children but instead the grandfather to two teenage boys, Tisdale points out that the hospital’s detailed attention to infection control has grown into a measure of “best practice” for other hospitals over the past 30 years, and speaks to a bigger picture of patient satisfaction and positive results.