As a nurse I’ve got to…..attend a conference and develop best practice guidance.

If you’ve read my blog so far you’ll know that I’ve been a theatre nurse, an endoscopy nurse and a critical care nurse. Each one of those roles allowed me to deliver care and help make decisions with patients and their family members directly. But in other roles I’ve been a subject matter expert, expected to give information and make decisions for a population or a wide group of people. Today was one of those days.

I’ve just spent the day in Birmingham working with people from all over the county who have a specialist interest or role within infection prevention and control (IPC). There were estates managers, directors of IPC (DIPC), IPC nurses as well as representatives from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Infection Prevention Society (IPS) and NHS Improvement.

Our task for the day was to shape the IPC framework for future CQC inspections, in other words what does good or outstanding IPC look like?

The day started with a summary of what CQC inspections have seen so far across the country and what our collective goal to achieve should be at the end of the day.

One of the slides showed us that despite the challenges of workforce, demand and funding 60% of NHS acute services have been rated good (I think a lot of goodwill is bridging the workforce gaps but that’s a conversation for another blog).

With a room full of tables in carousel style we were tasked by the days chairperson to answer 4 questions.

  1. What data/evidence should be reviewed in addition to mandatory reporting?
  2. How could data for improvement vs performance be better utilised?
  3. What would good and then outstanding board assurance look like?
  4. How do you engage and measure the contribution to system wide working?

I sat on a table with 4 other IPC nurses, a senior estates manager, an associate DIPC and a policy leader for the CQC. Quickly we got to sharing our views and perspectives. With us coming from acute and community health care backgrounds we had lots of different views to share! This is where I had to sit back and take a moment to reflect.

Wow, I’m with all these knowledgeable experts making decisions and statements that will impact upon umpteen healthcare settings country wide.

As an INFJ with lots going on in my head, this is a little electrifying.

But also as a nurse, someone with minimal ambitions when I stared out it’s amazing to reflect on where you can get to with luck and hard work. If you’re wondering where to step to next there are many interesting jobs in and out of hospitals that nurses are required for. So settle into your career and enjoy the experience because you never know where your job might take you.

So where did the day end up? Well, somewhere in Birmingham there is about 30 sheets of flip chart paper winging their way to be reviewed and put together into a draft framework for the group to review in a the near future.

I feel there were some standout statements for me that lifted the framework above data, trajectories and targets. Whilst these points are really important, at the front line I’d rather someone working at my Trust knew the importance, relevance and impact of IPC in their area rather than just the latest targets.

So, my take away thoughts from the day to bring back to my Trust are;

  • What IPC questions are the board asking?
  • How can we capture good IPC culture and what does it look like?
  • How does the multi disciplinary team engage with IPC?
  • How well does the IPC audit cycle work?

Lots to think about on an empty Crosscountry station!