Archive for March, 2013



      Everywhere. Big ones. Small ones. Fluffy ones. Chocolate ones. Imaginary ones*…..  


It’s either Easter soon and I need a holiday, or the little leporids are plotting something, and we should all get away on holiday. Either way, I need to take a break….

Writing up my Hand Hygiene research has been rather intense over the last few weeks, not least because I have been feeling a tad under the weather (maybe because the weather has been so uninspiring!), and I have been relying on the good will and enthusiasm of others to keep me pushing forward. Thank goodness for the welcoming stream of Infection Prevention inspiration and enthusiasm that can always be found via Twitter; especially my personal heroes at UHCW, IPS, and Claire Kilpatrick. Great to have my Twitter Feed on in the background when I’m finding writing hard, to remind me why the research in this field matters, and especially when I receive Tweets such as these on cold March days:

twitterJon Otter@jonotter  22h

@chd05 good to see you down to speak at the IPS event in Brum https://www.eventsforce.net/fitwise/frontend/reg/thome.csp?pageID=46867&eventID=133&eventID=133 … In good company @julesstorr @emrsa15

Infection Control@uhcw_inf_con  22 Mar

#ff @CHD05 for making our week! Tea makes the world go round #handhygeine #HOP

Jamie Mackrill@JamieMackrill1  15 Mar

@CHD05. Good luck today spreading your hand hygiene compliance work!

It takes some self-discipline (usually applied) not to become distracted by all the excited Twitter chatter, but if controlled correctly, I find that it inspires my work, rather than being of detriment. I have certainly made some excellent connections and professional links via this channel which I cannot envisage having had the opportunity to have made in any other capacity, particularly as a PhD student with limited resources.  I definitely think it helps build a “community” feel around topics as well, which has the additional benefit when working alone or remotely, either as a student, or in a clinical role, facing the same challenges as co-workers across an area, be that a region, country or globe.

Away from Twitter there has been written progress on the research front – despite the up-and-down nature of the past few weeks – and I am now well into the process of drafting out the chapters discussing Studies 1 and 2 – which explored how Hand Hygiene was measured at my Case Study Site, and the potential role of Technology.   Had a great chat with my Supervisor this morning, always good to talk about my research with a ‘new’ ear; as often you can get too close to the ins and outs of your own work, and it is hard to explain the bigger picture, which is more often than not what is required (or rather, it is what 90% of people are actually interested in!).  Hoping to get the draft of these two chapters done by mid-April, so we can really start to see where we are, and take it from there. Exciting, nerve-wracking times!


Also, as mentioned last time, I have submitted an abstract to ICPIC on the topic of my first two Studies, and am now preparing a paper based on the “Fit-For-Purpose” Matrix developed for Study 2.   I also had a great meeting with one of the Hand Hygiene companies featured in this matrix, and am very excited about the potential for future research developments along that vein – although naturally it is still too early to say anything yet. I HAVE to write the thesis first!

Hopefully by the time I next post I will be able to update on the successful completion of at least one Study chapter – and share an overview of the main themes raised.  I will definitely be able to share with you two things:

  1. Proceedings from tonight’s Women In Science event – www.warwick.ac.uk/WomenInScience – @WIS2013  #WISAnEveningWith
    This is an evening of expert talks and networking (with the additional bonus of cheese, wine – and baked goods [biscuits] by demand!) for researchers of both genders from within the Faculty of Science to discuss how to have a successful science career. Issues such as progressing from PhD and beyond, balancing home/life issues, pursuing funding and tracking down fellowships are all likely to surface.
    I’ve been very lucky to be asked to be on the organising committee for this event, and am very excited about meeting the two speakers –  Professor Frances Ashcroft & Dr Vita Majce – both having been honoured by the L’Oreal-UNESCO programme.  Expecting some very inspiring words to remember – very timely indeed…!
  2. And finally, I will also be able to share with you my success/failure at attempting “A Hollywood“… I’m not being disloyal to “The Berry“, but they are a team, and you shouldn’t have favourites….





*NB Happy imaginary ones, not Donnie Darko inspired ones….

Read Full Post »

The past few weeks since finishing data collection have been spent going back over my thesis outline, working out what can be “written up without delay”, what “needs more work”, and what I would ideally like to put in a big box called “never look at again”….

Image from dreamstime.com

Safety deposit box for Dissertation Issues….(Image from dreamstime.com)

Naturally it is that third category that contains rather a lot of the “meat” of the dissertation at the moment, and it takes a lot of self-discipline to ensure that each of the “issues” are logged, so that I can plan to tackle them as I write-up, even if it is not something I can do all at once.  Fortunately I have been able to call on some great sources of assistance so far to help me with each “issue” I have plucked from the box, and therefore I am hoping that over the next few months the balance of what can be “written up without delay and what I’d like to “never look at again” will swing…but one thing is for sure, the whole thesis “needs a lot more work”.

What I have found really useful though, is the use of copious “pictures” to help me translate both my ideas and actions into formats that are easier to communicate – I am now forever drawing process flow diagrams of some kind, showing how my thoughts are flowing, what actions I carried out, and why certain processes were carried out in particular orders.  Whilst these started out as being tools to help me avoid “head-pop“, I have now found that they may well be jolly useful to include in the finished written dissertation, to help the examiner avoid the same fate, and to save the legendary 1,000 words

Learning - Risky Times (Image from ninapaley.com)

Learning – Risky Times (Image from ninapaley.com)

The “head-pop” issue has actually been a serious one this past week, as I’ve succumbed to 2 migraines – which as previously noted are not the best news.  Having to cancel hard to arrange meetings is never a good thing, nor is the time lost to feeling like you’ve just run a marathon. And that’s an analogy I can just about work with these days – except with a migraine you miss out on the shiny medal and cake rewards.  Still, fingers crossed it has just been a blip, and happily I managed to proceed with a re-arranged meeting, during which I learnt some fascinating new information which will help underpin a major theme in my discussion section, and plans for future Post-Doc work.  Well worth the snowy walk up to Warwick Medical School!

I also had a fantastic discussion re: my plans for Post-Doc work, which has really helped clarify the direction I want my research to go in, as well as help motivate me to keep up the pressure to get a thesis draft produced sooner rather than later.  More details on this further down the line, suffice to say Hand Hygiene remains close to my heart!

Icing on the Cake - going literal...

Icing on the Cake – going literal…

Outside the thesis write-up the past few weeks have seen me once again having some great help and advice from Claire Kilpatrick who gave some really useful feedback and encouragement on my ICPIC abstract draft.  ICPIC promises to be an amazing event, with some of the leading experts in the Infection Prevention field coming together, and I am keeping everything crossed that I will be able to attend; being able to take contribute my research in some capacity would only be the icing on the cake.



And finally, exciting times tomorrow on the Hand Hygiene and Technology front….will post soon…..

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: