Archive for November, 2012

Whilst I write-up notes for my background chapter, I am also planning my proposed Post-Doc work (Where Next…?) which will focus, along with looking at how we move forwards with assessing Electronic Monitoring for Hand Hygiene, on how we could use Human Behaviour to (better?) engage Healthcare Professionals with the WHO 5 Moments.

I gave my first talk touching on this topic last week (at the NHS Acute setting where I have been carrying out my work, at their IPCT Study Day), and it felt great to be gradually putting thoughts into actions, even if it was just discussing them.  I had some great chats at the breaks during the day, and some really interesting points of view to go away and think about – building further on the feedback I’d taken away from HPA,  IPS and IFIC earlier in Autumn (work can be seen here).

Very excited now about pulling together a couple of papers on this topic, to get the ball rolling.  The PhD clock is ticking, so writing there has to come first, but happily there is natural synergy between the two.  Also hoping to carry out Study 3 over these winter months, so will have empirical data to add weight to the material by the spring.  Will keep updating…

NB: Yesterday we had the IDH Conference during which I had a really interesting chat with a fellow delegate about the importance of not developing technology in isolation, always remembering that the Patient/Healthcare Professional must be able to understand innovations, use them and benefit from them…. Great to hear someone outside ‘my’ field saying the same things back to me – without prompting I must add!

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English: The Westminster Clock ("Big Ben&...

That’s why it sparkles! – The Westminster Clock (“Big Ben”) being cleaned in August, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took two days off at the end of last week, which I had looked forward to for approximately ever* and had a glorious time on Thursday marvelling how beautiful our capital looks in the Autumn sunshine.  Big Ben was literally shining, and it was impossible not to feel proud as you wove through the crowds of tourists taking photographs.  A happy day.  And topped off perfectly by some superb theatre in the evening.  Such a day certainly helps with the lows that can so suddenly hit…and which can leave you sofa-d for a few days….!  Still, am back vertical now, and just about to write up a draft of my background chapter, which introduces the topic of HCAI (Healthcare Associated Infections), explaining their prominence, burden and the factors we have at our disposal to counter them…including, naturally, Hand Hygiene.

It is when revisiting all the stats I have on HCAI that it is easy to become ‘lost in numbers’, a little blasé about figures such as 300,000 annual cases, or £9billion – and forget that each ‘case’ represents an individual story, which doesn’t just end upon hospital discharge.  And thus a presentation I attended by Derek Butler of MRSA Action UK at the UHCW Infection Prevention and Control Study Day on Wednesday 14th November was aptly timed.  He used very personal cases (Step-Father and Father) to illustrate how critical Information, Communication and Education (ICE) are in our work towards Patient Safety.  Particularly, how important it is to remember that the Patient is not only an individual, but more often than not a member of a network of family and friends, all of whom play a part in the wider picture of care, including the prevention of infection.

These individuals should be seen as allies, who can help maintain required standards, and to do this must be kept informed. Information, though, is not enough, and Healthcare Professionals need to always ensure they too lead by example – thus for Hand Hygiene, if we want visitors to perform Hand Hygiene to protect Patients and themselves, we need to ensure that Healthcare Professionals do too. Always. Once we can make sure that both parties understand this need, it will surely be much easier to ‘encourage’ those slower on the uptake, and we will finally start to see these big numbers, representing real people, begin to fall….

*(I may be being less scientific than usual with that calculation…)

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Today pages of notes swirl in my head like autumn leaves


Just a quick post whilst I let my head work out what to do with the pages of notes I’ve amassed whilst working on the structure of my PhD Dissertation ‘Background’ chapter….  I decided thinking about something else may allow it time to settle before I start adding in the next layer…

One of the key themes of my research is the potential for technology within the field of Healthcare Hand Hygiene, primarily to aid accurate monitoring, measurement and feedback – but through researching for such examples, all kinds of innovations have surfaced.  My interest lies in how these technologies are perceived by the Healthcare Professionals themselves, from a ‘fit for purpose’ aspect, and also how they may inspire different types of innovations or interventions themselves.  Thus, for a start, whilst examples shown to some participants in my research were judged not to be ‘fit for purpose’ they did inspire great discussion about how Hand Hygiene could be improved through better education, using a combination of technology and training.  The technology itself was seen as a tool for something entirely different from it was being marketed, yet the end goal – improving Hand Hygiene – may be the same.  A great example of the importance of the context, and allowing a wide range of thinking prior to implementing innovations.  sometimes, perhaps, it may be better to ignore what it says on the tin….

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One of my peers passed her VIVA yesterday – another wave of immense pride crested with panic to ride on!  I still remember standing outside our 1st Year presentations together, looking white/porridge grey (admittedly that was me, rather than her…) and chatting about how we still didn’t really know what we were doing…  Somehow she is now a “Dr”, and me, well….I found this cartoon attached to an old email…..scarily, it still seems rather too apt!!


The advice I’m given is to remember that every academic has been there….and once you’ve got the qualification, it’s all worth it…  Yeah.

Come back to me in about 10 months….

In the interim – congratulations to Dr Potter….!





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Finally uploading the link to my IFIC Poster  – things have been a bit hectic since my last post, and whilst things are still very much ‘potentially interesting’ they are also very much intense!  Here I’ve split the week up into 3 chunks, the Successes, the Highs and the Lows (not too gloomy though!)….and then finish on my lingering issue of Where Next…..


This week I completed the final interview sessions for Study 1/2 – whilst it is tempting to continue collecting data along these themes, as it is enjoyable meeting new members of staff and discussing Hand Hygiene experiences and views on what could be done differently, the key (or one of them!) to successful qualitative research lies in knowing when to stop.  The legendary ‘Saturation Point’, whereby no new themes emerge from the data, is hard to categorically locate – there is always the fear that the next interview may provide something different…but you have to use your instinct, and also respect the time and resources available.

So after 6 months of data collection, using a mixture of deductive and inductive analysis, I am now confident that I can defend the process used to explore the phenomenon, and also the decision to stop at this stage.  Whilst every individual has unique experiences to share, due to differences in perceptions, memories and the very nature of life opportunities, the general themes now emerging are beginning to converge.  Thus I used the final group interview session to clarify issues I was still partially unclear on, and also to confirm some general themes that had emerged so far.  I now look forward to analysing the whole data set using the coding matrix established previously, and seeing the themes that fully emerge….


 This week I also had fun with a supplementary activity – comparing the emergent themes from my research with those which were raised during a live TwitterChat hosted by @WeNurses (see here for article). It was really interesting and encouraging to see so many other Healthcare Professionals raise the same themes as we have found at our case study site – issues such as the impact of Role Models, Habitual Hand Hygiene and the Challenges of Compliance.  It shows that the research is both relevant, and necessary!

Lows – but not all negative

This week I also said a sad goodbye to my Academic Supervisor, who has left WMG and Warwick to take up a new post as Leadership
Chair in eHealth Research at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (University of Leeds).  I have so much to thank Jeremy for, as even though I have only worked with him for 18 months, he has been instrumental in moulding my research into the project it is today, and helping me build both my skills and confidence as an early career researcher.  He has also shown a genuine interest in the topic area, despite it not being directly linked to any current research he is involved in, and thus it has taken additional time and resource for him to work on my PhD project – a fact he has never once complained about.  I cannot thank him enough for all his help and encouragement, and am delighted that we will be keeping in close contact as we both face our new future challenges.

It’s not all sad though – at our last meeting I was able to share with Jeremy my ideas for future research, and things looked good – I am very enthusiastic about his feedback and own enthusiasm.  The ‘Where Next’ question looms larger by the day then – questions such as ‘Is anyone else researching Hand Hygiene?‘, ‘Where?’, ‘In what context?‘…..

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