New adventures

So this week I left RBCH. After 5 years as an Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at the Trust I’m leaving to join the IPC team at Poole.

The time has flown by, it’s been an amazing journey where I’ve got to meet some great people. Patients and staff have amazed me with their life stories and experiences. I’m biased, but it’s a great place to work. Many of my colleagues have been at the Trust since before I started and many more, like me, leave and return to this great hospital.

I arrived at the Trust just after the release of the PHE CPE guidance and the IPC team had done an amazing job working with leaders around the hospital getting the risk assessments into all admission areas. I knew at the outset that they were a team who were “on the ball”. I thought I knew the Trust from the previous experiences I had but this showed me how much the Trust had expanded and how many different admission routes had been developed.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa began very soon after this and we needed to use our imaginative thinking to develop an area, at the front of the hospital that would accommodate the PHE recommendations. Boxes upon boxes of equipment, were created in readiness for any potential cases but thankfully they remained unused.

Norovirus and influenza kept us busy over the following winter. Then group A strep over spring and, as Dorset is always super keen to start summer early, the barbecue season arrived triggering waves of campylobacter cases.

This was a seasonal pattern that repeated itself but it was never boring, each case brought their own unique challenge.

But there were times when this was more than one case and we found ourselves uncovering outbreaks. Mostly this was due to norovirus but we dealt with our fair share of unusual linked cases. Getting to work with colleagues from PHE investigating these was great and highlighted the value of knowing who your colleagues are in the different systems the NHS links into.

We went through some changes as a team, with new members of staff, 3 office moves, changes in hours, ways of working and various other demands as the hospital changed. I was impressed with how well my team coped and no matter what was going on, the needs of the patients were always at the forefront of the decisions we made.

There are many people I will miss, but I know this won’t be for long. At some point in the near future the two IPC Teams will merge so this is maybe just au revoir.

As an INFJ I’m going to need to work hard on balancing my dominating trait to listen, with talking about my interests and ideas. Coaching has really helped me to see my empathy skills as a value but I know that this needs to sometimes take a back seat!

I’ve been taught and learnt a great deal over the past few years, some thanks to experiences but many thanks to people. I’ve had the input and support of inspirational leaders and colleagues, some who challenge and others who coach but all have benefitted me enormously.

Here are a few of the rules and mantras I have found to be important and helpful as someone who defers to thinking deeply about new information and answers to new questions…

Be bold.

Be rebellious.

Trust your instincts.

My team held a couple that were always useful..

Declaring an outbreak over requires nerves of steel.

There are no coincidences in infection prevention and control!

Now it’s time for a little break. To shift the focus I’d these blogs from reflection to a more live story of where I am and my teams.