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Since coming back from #IP2013 I’ve been continuing to put the final touches to my thesis on the measurement of hand hygiene.

Final touches take a long time…that much I can definitely state with confidence!  But I’m happy that with each reading the chapters appear to take on more clarity, and confirm the over-arching links which I believe emerge from the work.

The thesis is bursting with ideas for future work....

The thesis is bursting with ideas for future work….

In parallel with finalising the thesis,  this month sees me developing further my plans for the research post-submission.  Indications from the findings are that they provide significant scope for development. Happily this is not just my opinion, and feedback from dissemination activities and discussions have encouraged my development plans.   My main focus will be in moving forward with work on hand hygiene measurement, ensuring that data generated from future systems provides meaning to those receiving it, to enable them to make improvements to Patient safety.  This proposed work will include exploring both technology and human behaviour, continuing and extending that already undertaken in my PhD, and looking to collaborate with experts within the field: both within healthcare and industry.

I’m very excited by the opportunity to combine both my academic and industrial experience, whilst remaining within a healthcare setting, the field I have come to feel so passionate and interested in over the past 5 years.  I am, as I have noted before, incredibly lucky to have been inspired by some wonderful people within this sector – with timely reference to the award-winning team who have hosted my research…you may also have heard about their success here…!

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ips 2013So I am back ready to work on my thesis today, but I have to admit that half my screen in taken up with Twitter feed…. Usually I am much more disciplined, trying to ensure that I “schedule” Twitter sessions in to my day – but I am making allowances for today/tomorrow so I can keep up with the exciting proceedings still going on at Infection Prevention 2013 (#IP2013).

Impressions of #IP2013

I was, again, overwhelmed by the amazing blend of scale and intimacy of this event, which first struck me last year in Liverpool.  At #IP2012 I was experiencing everything for the first time, including the whole concept of a “full conference”.  My only previous conference experience was the HPA conference, which was held at my own research institution (University of Warwick), therefore had not given me the same immersion opportunity as #IP2012.  So I wasn’t sure how this year’s event would feel – would it have lost some of its charm? Also, this year I had been accepted for oral presentation, giving me another new experience, but also an additional layer of nerves…

Happily #IP2013 more than fulfilled my expectations – from the moment I arrived I found I was rapidly taking notes, excitedly making links to my own work and seeing parallels I could draw between other people’s experiences and my future plans.

ConferenceI love that about conference. The sudden immersion into an environment where everyone shares a common sense of purpose, can understand experiences, and can debate ideas.  As I have – from an academic point of view – been working alone for the past four years, such opportunities are very welcome. 

It was also hugely exciting and a source of great pride to see how many of the key concepts highlighted by the experts in the morning session (more of which later) were reflected in work already been carried out by my IPC heroes.  They really are superstars, and it’s wonderful to know they’re getting to share some of that work at #IP2013 too.

Personal Highlights

As well as sharing my work on Study 3, which explored behavioural drivers to hand hygiene, I also had the opportunity to meet and hear from some leading experts in Infection Prevention.  Here are just a few highlights…

Professor Dale Fisher – offered really useful information about experience in successfully achieving organisational “buy-in”.  Very closely linked to my work and subsequent thoughts on “Meaningful Data”, and thought it was particularly useful to connect with the work of Human Factors (Ergonomics).  Definitely areas to follow up…

Dr Michael Gardam – presented the concept of Front Line Ownership (FLO) as part of a complexity science approach, with the message that solutions to problems may be very context specific. What works for one unit/team/setting may not work for another…  I’m interested in linking this to “Domain Knowledge”, which is a key theme throughout my thesis, so really pleased to see that evidence of successful practice using the FLO approach.

Professor Hugo Sax – provided a clear, logical background for why hand hygiene is vital, with particular emphasis on the role of endogenous infection, something I have discussed, but would like to look at in more depth.  I was particularly interested in the human factors approach, and thought the examples of innovations where error had seemingly been “designed in” through a failure to realise what was intuitive, were very persuasive.  Within hand hygiene I agree that understanding what is intuitive and what requires explicit learning would be of great benefit when designing interventions.

Martin Kiernan – delivering the EM Cottrell Lecture was a clear highlight, not just for me but for the audience as a whole.  Entertaining yet highly informative, “The life and times of the urinary catheter” was a talk spanning 2,000 years, examining (scant!) evidence, demanding action and research, and ending with a self-penned poem.  I don’t think you can ask any more of a speaker can you…except maybe a dance?  Roll on #IP2014…

Finally I also got to meet Pat Cattini and Jon Otter, both of whom made my day possible, and also helped ease my presentation nerves by being wonderfully welcoming, supportive and friendly.  I’m not sure I could have made it to the podium without their reassuring presence in the front row, and it was a fantastic example of the inclusive environment I appreciate from IPS.  Needless to say Jon then gave a flawless and superb talk on targeted MRSA screening – a presentation master class thrown in for free!  I also found out that Pat has an MSc which explored hand hygiene auditing, that she’s familiar with the key papers I’ve based Study 3 on, and that she’s involved in hand hygiene technology trials. In other words, she is my new superhero.

Now, back to the thesis………..the first step on my journey into Infection Prevention!

writing

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whirlwindThe last week has been a complete whirlwind, culminating in an early start tomorrow so I can share my work on Inherent and Elective hand hygiene (Study 3).

Having had my abstract for Infection Prevention 2013 accepted back in July, my planned funding was then delayed which meant I was left with no choice but to sadly pull out of the programme with only a few weeks to go. This was such a disappointment, as I had been really looking forward to Infection Prevention, having got so much out of the conference in Liverpool last year.  However, due to some amazing help from IPS (especially Claire Kilpatrick, Jon Otter and Pat Cattini) within hours of letting them know the news last Monday, I was offered funding support meaning I can join the event tomorrow (30th September). 

Really looking forward to sharing my work, and giving experts in the field the opportunity to comment/get in touch with regard to my plans for future developments!! 

Also have a HUGE sense of excitement building about the chance to hear from Hugo Sax again tomorrow. I was totally blown away by hearing him speak at ICPIC2013, so I’m sure tomorrow’s session will be worth the anticipation.  The programme is bursting with other gems, and I’m particularly looking forward to the EM Cottrell Lecture, given by Martin Kiernan.  Based on previous experience I’m sure this will be entertaining as well as informative…

Will be tweeting as much as possible, but with only one day at the conference, a huge exhibition, lots of posters I want to see, public transport to master, not to mention some #PoshMuffinsonTour to track down, I can’t be sure how much will be done…  Expect a blog in the next few days to wrap up thoughts!

ips 2013

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