Date of release: 12 May 2021
No more has infection prevention (IP) been at the forefront of our minds than in the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why we’re recognising IP Matron Lisa Hall as part of this year’s International Nurses Day campaign.
The world of nursing isn’t where Lisa had dreamed of working as a young girl, particularly as she enrolled on a secretarial course aged just 18, but on realising the range of opportunities to progress and the interesting things to learn, the teenager made the leap and enrolled at Stafford’s then School of Nursing.
The 52-year-old explained: “I wanted to be able to interact with people outside the walls of an office, and on seeing a leaflet about nurses training, I was attracted to the prospect of working in a challenging environment; facing different situations and working with different people every day.”
On qualifying as a nurse, Lisa spent a number of years working on a busy Orthopaedic Ward, in Occupational Health and in Practice Nursing. Here is where she spotted the national ‘Clean Your Hands’ campaign – an initiative in England and Wales to combat preventable healthcare associated infection by improving the hand hygiene of healthcare staff.
“This campaign did a lot for raising the profile of IP and really showed the importance of practicing good hand hygiene while caring for patients,” said the mum-of-two. “I found myself fascinated and wanted to explore the world of organisms further!”
Now an IP expert, and in her third year at the Trust, the nurse is enjoying supporting colleagues to be confident and knowledgeable in their IP practices.
“As an IP matron you’re offering mentorship to new IP practitioners and working to share knowledge and provide leadership both within the team and across the trust – in hospital, within primary care and in the community. It’s being aware of the issues, locally and nationally, and helping to support the staff to respond to these situations; to protect themselves and others. It’s a lot of proactive work that helps to prevent the spread of infection.”
That education and working to reduce avoidable healthcare associated infections is for Lisa what makes the role so enjoyable, although nothing could prepare IP teams up and down the country for the whirlwind that was, and still is, COVID-19.
“We are a specialist team, and most often with viruses and infections people ask us and we have a good understanding, but COVID-19 was a new virus which we didn’t know a lot about and we had to act while we were still learning.
“It has meant a considerable amount of reading and interpreting the national guidance for our own staff; turning them into understandable guidelines and materials for teams to refer to. But despite the stresses and uncertainties, it’s been rewarding to support colleagues and to offer reassurance that they are doing the right thing.”
When asked what International Nurses Day means to her, Lisa replied: “It’s about recognising the different roles and aspects of the nursing professions. It’s such a diverse career and I’m really proud to be a part of the RWT nursing team.”
Thank you Lisa!