Archive for July, 2012

Having a truly wonderful weekend of patriotic pride now that London 2012 is finally here – cannot praise all those involved in the opening ceremony highly enough – simply sublime!  I was delighted with the NHS tribute, the inclusion of real Healthcare Professionals, and the interweaving of our children’s literature heritage through the GOSH ties with JM Barrie.  Pure pride.  I struggle to think of any other country whom, when really pushed, would put their healthcare system so close to their hearts and literally make a song and dance about it.  I only hope that such affection is upheld and carried forward once all the glitz has passed and the reality of budget planning is once again the main topic of conversation…

On a research note the past week has been a busy one working with my NHS Acute Trust host, who themselves could not be more helpful.  As I enter my final year of PhD research my focus turns to the future, and I am more certain than ever that this research, on Hand Hygiene, Auditing and the development of suitable processes/technology, is an area that can and arguably should, be developed.  My major challenge will now be to find suitable funding for a Fellowship position – a difficult objective, but one I am more determined to achieve knowing the passion of those within the team I have been working at my NHS host site.  Together I feel certain we can make things happen!

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Having had two great sessions at UHCW this week, I have spent my ‘desk’ time mainly working on the accompanying Research Group Website – a forum to allow research participants to discuss key topics, take part in the Hand Hygiene Survey (Aug-Sept), and generally keep up-to-date with the project as a whole.

Having a web-based discussion tool allows those UHCW staff members unable to attend group meetings/interviews, to still have an opportunity to have their views and experiences involved in this work – it also allows participants to add comments, examples, and opinions in an anonymous format.  The website is secure, a member only domain, thus encouraging a greater level of openness.

If you work at UHCW and would like access to this facility please go to the JOIN page, or email me directly at Dawson_C@wmg.warwick.ac.uk, and an account can be set up for you.

Looking forward to hearing different experiences, helping to build up the picture…



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After the mishap of last week, this week has started off much better – no statistics related injuries to report, and the residual DeepHeat aroma comes from a sore hip now, but as that’s a running ache I’m much more tolerant…

UHCW Staff Taking Part!

Despite the quick change of plans last Wednesday I did manage to have a great meeting on Thursday with one of the key links in my Hand Hygiene Auditing chain, and potentially it looks like we should be able to engage more members of the UHCW team in the research over the next few weeks. Great!  Especially in light of the article I have just been reading, which outlines how important the input of Healthcare Professionals can be when looking at tackling Hand Hygiene interventions.  It will be great to speak with different members of staff at UHCW and find out their views on the potential for technology – positive, negative, neutral – all viewpoints matter when building up a picture.

This afternoon I shall also be meeting with a Consultant to look at a further expansion of participants, really hopeful we can pull something together there too – during my time shadowing the Audit Process I was able to visit a number of different wards within the UHCW Trust, and this helped focus the mind that even inside one Trust, even inside one building, there are many different challenges faced by staff working in different healthcare settings – is it possible to think of a technology or process that can fit all scenarios….?

Is a ‘One Size Fits All’ solution possible?

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Have just had to make my first cancellation with a participant since my research began, and naturally feel dreadful.  On a scale of dreadful so great that I’m thinking that even cake isn’t going to cut it today…  Combine this psychological feeling with physical pain, and you’ll gather that today finds me in a ‘bad place’.  For comparison, perhaps imagine an IKEA checkout on the first day of the Sale, full of fraught couples, bored children, hyper-active under-5s, and a flat-pack box wedged in the till space…. No, your pastry and free coffee temptation isn’t going to calm me today my yellow t-shirted friends…

Anyway, so yes, today I am supposed to be collecting data on site, but yesterday, in a rather daring move, I decided to try to knuckle down to understanding a new area of my work – trying to add a quantitative element to the research.  Thanks to a brilliant co-researcher at the IDL I am now looking at performing a new level of analysis on my Inherent/Elective categorisation, namely a MANOVA.   Whilst the bulk of my work in my first degree (BSc Psychology) was quantitative, it has been many years since I flicked on the computer and turned to SPSS, so statistical analysis as a whole is like revisiting Narnia – strangely familiar yet most definitely not yet commonplace.  I have been using the great work of Andy Field as guide/lamppost to keep me secure during my re-awakening adventure through statistical analysis, and this is really how the mishap of yesterday occurred….

Having presented to the IDH team at lunchtime, I went straight off to the library to review some of the issues raise, turning to Andy Field’s ‘Discovering Statistics Using SPSS’ text book.

 Brilliant.     Cover of "Discovering Statistics Using SP...

However, when it was time to go, in my rush to get out and make the most of the elusive dry/sunshine I forgot how much he had packed into one book, and flung my book bag over my shoulder….and calamity…!  Searing pain across the shoulder-blade.  Not good.  Being a sneaky pain it did go after some rather entertaining breathing exercises and stretching (in public…!), but this morning it has returned to show me who is boss, and thus I am now somewhat incapacitated.  Have taken the recommended tablets, and now am sitting in a position that is reasonably comfy, to the point that I have about 1cm tolerance either way…  Loving all things wireless, laptop and mobile right now. Not loving kettles, fridges and basically the real world – how dare it be so demanding?!

Have everything crossed that this pain goes quickly, as have another meeting scheduled at UHCW tomorrow, plus a meeting at IDH.  Also, running – something I’ve not managed to do for a week now, and with a rather long run planned on Saturday am starting to get a little concerned about….

Anyhow, on the bright side, the temporary incapacitation does give me an opportunity to catch up on coding the already collected data, so as ever, there are always things to do…  And this chair is exceptionally comfy. From IKEA. Naturally….

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    Finally grabbing a few minutes to catch up on sending out ‘tweets’/emails to various contacts I’ve collected or been sent over the past couple of weeks; amazing how quickly these things build up.  In the main these are messages to people who have expressed an interest in taking part in the research over the summer, or who have colleagues/friends who think they would be interested, and also they’re to people I met at the Vitae event last Thursday (during which time the cake and tea, left, were greatly enjoyed!!). 

Tomorrow I’m updating the team at the IDH  about the progress of the research, and am quite looking forward to some feedback, as this will be my first time presenting to many of those outside of my own group, and the first time presenting a full overview to anyone since the active research began….interesting times!  I hope the audience finds the topic of interest, for it is certainly unique within our group, however the themes of Behaviour Change, Public Health and, naturally, technology are threads which weave throughout the Institute.

I’ll update here as to how it goes – and continue to contact/respond to those expressing interest in the research. Do keep on contacting!  



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My Poster in the Sunshine (2nd left)

I had a great time yesterday, sharing my PhD research with over 70 other researchers at the 2012 Vitae Midlands Hub Poster Competition, held at The_Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry.  We managed to have the event on the (seemingly) only sunny day this month so far, and the venue was superb (see photos, taken from the lovely people at Warwickrssp!) – great space for all the Posters, an interesting taster session re: The Engaging Researcher, and time to visit the various exhibitions within the Gallery and the historic Cathedral opposite.  Delightfully there was also tea and cake. Twice. Need I say more….?

Speaking about my research was certainly an enjoyable experience, it is a strangely unusual chance to be able to share your work with ‘new’ audiences; often in research you speak with people in your own field, either experts you are asking for advice, participants you are engaging with during research, or peers you are sharing research experiences with.

New Audiences

At events such as this one, the audiences are hugely varied, I spoke with people with backgrounds in Biology, NHS administration, high-end Manufacturing, Retail, Catering and Rail Networks on the Island of Sodor. Admittedly the last person was 3 and highly knowledgeable on Thomas the Tank Engine; but as was pointed out earlier in the day, if you can explain your research to the under 9s, then you should have no problem explaining it to anyone else.This is a conversation I had earlier in the week with my own on-call Young Expert (5), when I told them what I was up to later in the week.

Young Expert: Why does that hand look funny?

Me: Because it needs washing.  Do you wash your hands?

Ye: Mmmm. Sometimes. When they’re muddy.

Me: That’s great. And does Mummy tell you to wash your hands lots of times? Even when they’re not muddy…?

YE: Mmm.

Me: Well that’s what I’m doing. I’m seeing when people need to be told to wash their hands, even when they’re not muddy!

YE: By Mummies…? 

Me: Well….maybe not by Mummies. They’re probably quite busy. But we’ll think of something, won’t we…?

YE: Robot Mummies!

So there you have it…out of the mouths of the young. Keep an eye out for Robot Mummies, coming to a Hospital near you…! 

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Taking a quick break from transcribing my last interview from Phase 1 of the research, it feels good to be making solid plans for Phase 2 (Can you join in?) by adding a new page on the menu bar-(UHCW Staff?….) although there is still quite a bit of work to do on Phase 1; the data may be collected, but the analysis is still on-going…!

Phase 2 (July-August) will see members of Staff from all over the Trust, being sought to share their views and experiences of the Hand Hygiene Audit process, Hand Hygiene Measurement, and the potential of Hand Hygiene technologies.  There are many topics that have come up already, so it will be interesting to see if any new ones are still to surface, or if there are clear distinctions between roles in the Audit process and views on how it works….  Time will tell!

Early results and feedback will start to come out in September, firstly at the HPA Conference and then hopefully at the IPS Conference  in October.

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