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Archive for January, 2014

Image credit:  Jameson Gagnepain via Flickr

Image credit: Jameson Gagnepain via Flickr

Due to my current “limbo” status previously discussed, I find myself increasingly “plate spinning” at the moment, enjoying the luxury (challenge!) of being able to dive into a number of activities, rather than having to focus solely on one goal, as had been the requirement over autumn/winter last year.   Therefore I am currently spending time reflecting on my own research, through writing up my findings and methods for various journal articles, and also working with existing and new partners to plan potential avenues for future research.

These future avenues include:

  • exploring hand hygiene technologies
  • behavioural aspects of infection prevention
  • education and engagement of medical professionals with both hand hygiene and wider infection prevention goals
  • generating meaningful data for use in enabling change within infection prevention practices

Whilst these topics are listed as separate bullet points, the wonderful aspect of both my reflective work recently, and the exciting discussions had so far, is the acknowledgement of how much overlap there is between each area. For example:

Can hand hygiene technologies produce meaningful data?
How can we enhance the infection prevention education of medical professionals through understanding behaviour? 
What is the importance of engaging healthcare professionals when discussing hand hygiene technologies…and meaningful data…?

It is definitely an exciting time to be working and researching in infection prevention, and I am very lucky to be surrounded by a motivated and passionate community.  I have been particularly supported and encouraged by those below, although this list is certainly not exhaustive, and I look forward to adding many more names as we move forwards in the months and years to come!

Overdue thanks to:

UHCW Infection Prevention and Control Team,    Claire Kilpatrick,    Julie Storr,    Martin Kiernan,    Jon Otter,    Gary Thirkell,    Neil Wigglesworth,    Mark Radford,    The Infection Prevention Society (IPS),      #WeNurses,    Jamie Mackrill,    Kate Seers,    Jeremy Wyatt,    Christopher James

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Identity Crisis

Emerging into sunlight!

Emerging into sunlight!

After months spent as a virtual recluse battling against all manner of hurdles to complete my thesis it felt like a real treat to emerge out into the winter sunshine yesterday and wandered up to Warwick Medical School.   This was just a flying visit, to put last minute touches to some future plans, and now I am back in my regular haunt on main campus.   However, all being well I hope to be spending much more time “up there” in the future…

It was as I was wandering back down the hill that my thoughts turned back to a conversation I had a little while ago, on the topic of “identity”.  The common question of “What do you do?” often being an early probe in conversations, currently provides my first dilemma. I am no longer a student, having ceased to be registered with the University at the end of 2013.  However, my daily activities seem to have changed little, except that instead of writing my thesis I am now translating my work into journal papers, blog articles and future research proposals. But I am not a student.  Yet neither am I a Post-Doc, for I have to wait to have my viva before such exciting developments can occur. So prompts the question: “What am I?”

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

The answer to this question is further complicated from my seeming inability (reluctance?) to define myself under a traditional “discipline”.  In academia, as in life, one is often identified by a series of labels. People are “Historians”, “Mathematicians”, “Philosophers” and “Economists”.  Recently I was asked “What are you?” to which I explained that I saw myself as a researcher within Infection Prevention.

Apparently this was not the accepted approach…

I needed to “be” something. I explained I had a Psychology degree, but I refute that I am a “Psychologist”, although according to some definitions perhaps I am…  I have a business MA, but I do not see myself as exclusively in this field either.  Having spent a number of years in manufacturing I could define myself as an “Analyst”, but that isn’t solely what I do.  Finally, all being well, I will soon have a doctorate in “Engineering”.  But, looking at what I do, and where I see myself going, I don’t feel that the identity “Engineer” quite covers it either….

So, what am I?  And further, does it matter?  Answers on a postcard* please… Be kind.

Postcard

*Tweets, comments, owls and smoke signals also accepted.

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