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Posts Tagged ‘Future Research’

So here it is.

As we know, I have now safely navigated through the PhD journey, and can officially say I have qualified as a Doctor of Engineering. My thesis, which examines future systems of hand hygiene measurement in healthcare, will soon be available for anyone to read.  Amazing.

Even more exciting (not sure I ever thought anything would top that…which shows you how much a PhD can change you!), we also know that I have now started working for the NHS – with the phenomenal IPCT at UHCW

Now two weeks into my role as IPC Research Practitioner and I have been blown away by how much I am enjoying myself, how diverse the workload and challenges that face the team are, and crucially how overwhelmingly welcoming the team have been.  I never doubted that for a second, but they have surpassed even my high expectations. I have LOVED every moment I have been there, and am so excited about the plans we have been making.  One thing I know for sure…we’re going to be BUSY!

And my admission?

I am SMUG.

I cannot help it. I have tried to battle it, but to no avail.  I just cannot help randomly smiling whenever I think about how much I am enjoying my new post-doc freedom, the ability to offer an “expert” opinion on real world, patient safety matters, and to be given the opportunity to develop research ideas that could make a difference to the way we think in the IP community.  It’s fantastic, and the picture below sums it up beautifully.

Whilst I enjoyed my PhD journey immensely, there is an element of being “caged” – when all is said and done, the main purpose is to develop as a researcher, and ensure you display skills required to earn the qualification.  Once this has been achieved, the freedom is granted to really focus on the research area…and this feels immense!

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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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So this is 2013.  The year I will submit my PhD.

7 words that are rather easy to write. It’s the other 70,000 that make up the dissertation that pose the tricky bit….   Over Christmas and New Year, in between the standard giving, receiving, eating and being merry, and not-so-standard but absolute top quality use of NHS services, I had the big old think about what to do next as discussed previously – and came down hard on the side of carrying the research forward.  Always the decision in my heart, it was just the head that needed the additional encouragement, knowing how hard it can be to get research funding and positions, however well-intentioned, planned and necessary future research may be.  Yet despite all this, I decided that I want to try. I have to try. I need to try.  I have had so much interest and encouragement in this topic, from both those working in the field, and those who experience Healthcare from the ‘other side’, that it seems a waste not to try to take it forwards, to see just what we could do next.

So I emailed (a very, very long email….) my champion Claire (Kilpatrick) – Infection Prevention and Hand Hygiene Legend – on Christmas Eve, as you do, and received the most wonderful and encouraging email back within days, which has swept me through the first dark week of January, and literally dragged me out of bed and back to the computer. I have so many future plans, but need the discipline to write-up this work before I can go any further, and that is where the encouragement of others comes in. And it’s brilliant!  Hopefully I will be able to meet up with Claire soon and chat over some ideas, but before that I have promised (to myself) that I will commit another few thousand words to draft, and produce the article abstract which has been haunting me for about a month now. PLAN!

I also had a great email of encouragement from NursingTimes, after contacting them re: writing an article for them about the work we’ve been doing at my Case Study Site. I think it would be great to share this with the Nursing Community, and they’ve been really supportive, and also added that Hand Hygiene will be a topic they want to look at a lot this year – which is great for everyone. Another nod of encouragement!  I must also add a note to a great IPC Healthcare Professional@Mimsiebel at this point who always gives me lots of motivation for my work via Twitter, and has added her voice to the encouragement for an NT article – thank you!

Finally I also have a meeting with the Chief Nurse at the Case Study site later this month to update him on my research, and explore potential areas for future work. As a fellow academic as well as clinical expert I am very much looking forward to gaining insight from both ‘sides’ of his expertise, and am really excited to hear his views on ideas for ways in which we could translate this research into practical, measurable, and Patient Safety conscious practice.

The plan, therefore, is now to write this week – and then start the practical aspect of Study 3 on-site next week – which I will blog about once it is up and running. Got an email through about IFIC applications at the back-end of last week too, and that has given me a massive boost of encouragement….definitely, definitely want to be presenting my work in Buenos Aires in October!

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