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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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This week has been a true representation of how varied a PhD experience can be, especially one like mine which has a number of different threads  being (carefully…) woven together.  The brief overview of my schedule below should give some insight into how all the topics within my research are currently being explored in parallel, turning me into something akin to a plate-spinner….plates

Monday: (Snow Day) Chapter writing for Thesis on the topic of Hand Hygiene Compliance; Factors Affecting Compliance (especially Intensity  of Patient Care, Ward Context and Patient Type) and Issues of Measurement of Hand Hygiene Compliance (which links with the work for my Study 1, which explores how Hand Hygiene is Audited at an NHS Acute Trust).

Tuesday: (Rescheduled from in-situ study day), instead Paper writing on the topic of Electronic Monitoring Technologies and Hand Hygiene, discussing  their Fit-For-Purpose rating according to established guidelines. This links in with the work for my Study 2, which explores the potential for Technology within the Audit Process at an NHS Acute Trust. Also had good Twitterchat and received support (and Thesis!) from great source of knowledge in Infection Prevention – Microbiology expert Jon Otter.

Wednesday: Very interesting meeting with Engineering company to hear all about Hand Hygiene system which can provide data to Healthcare Professionals about their Hand Hygiene compliance against scientifically sound ‘benchmarks’ (expected compliance rates) based on WHO 5 Moments. So much potential to explore….  Also an opportunity for exciting, motivating and woefully short catch-up with Claire Kilpatrick,  already working on outputs from that session!

Thursday: (Today) Back to collecting data in-situ for Study 3, looking at the effect of Human Behaviour on Hand Hygiene, and then back to writing the Thesis Chapter draft…

Tomorrow I shall be collecting more data, and then next week I am attending a networking event at my University, aiming to bring together Health Research from all departments and schools. Health @ Warwick3should be an interesting and vibrant day, and I am looking forward to sharing my “Why Do You Wash You Hands” poster from IFIC, to give a flavour of the work I have been doing over the past 3 or so years.  I’ll probably Tweet from the day, so if you’re there/interested, make sure you keep an eye out for @CHD05!

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A change of scenery yesterday – spent some time with my young “research consultant” (5yrs) – who accompanied me to campus for a very early University taster session…  We had a great time, including an interesting peak inside the IDL, a wander around the beautiful campus (feeding ducks and dodging showers!) , and watched some of the Olympics on the big screen currently up in the Piazza.   Oh, and there was cake…naturally!

It was an enjoyable time, and a vital break from some heavy weeks of both active research and data analysis – and has given me a much needed ‘fresh’ feel with which to approach today.  Next week I have a promising meeting set up at my NHS host site, and an interview with a great Healthcare Professional about the Audit Process; looking forward to the information both these very different opportunities may bring.

Our website is now open for comments and discussions, and those at UHCW are welcome to join – please email me, or click here, for more details.

Next week I will be updating about the plans for future research – currently things are looking rather intriguing….

Enjoy the Olympics!

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This shows three buildings on the University o...

IMC Building, WMG (far left) - the location of my Campus Office

A key driver behind setting up this blog has been an excellent scheme run by The University of Warwick specifically for Research Staff and Students, like me. 

The 10 week online course – entitled ’23 Things for the Digital Professional’ – promises to introduce a whole range of tools and techniques that are highly likely to be of both immediate and future benefit.  For me such a course is perfect, as whilst I have worked in both academic and industrial settings, neither have really involved much interaction with specific online tools – and as I do not work solely in one place the online aspect especially suits my circumstances.

Apart from setting up a blog (Thing 1!) the next few weeks should see many new aspects being explored – and brief evaluations of each experience will be added here; along with other posts and material directly related to my research topic.  Setting up this blog was much easier than I expected, with clear pro’s and con’s given to aid selection of a suitable platform, and I am therefore hopeful that ‘Thing 2’ – using SlideShare – will follow the same simple theme.  I am hopeful that by using the tools and knowledge gained through this course I will be able to both reach, and interact with a far greater community than that allowed through more traditional academic knowledge-share routes such as journals and conferences.

Perhaps even more importantly I trust that by Christmas I will finally be able to follow the conversations of my more technology-savvy friends and peers..!

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