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Heather Wallace our Senior Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Nurse in ARHAI Scotland discusses International Nurses Day.

Our Nurses Our Future: celebrating International Nurses Day 2024 - with Heather Wallace

Published on 10 May 2024

From: Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland

Heather Wallace, Senior Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Nurse in ARHAI Scotland

International Nurses Day takes place on Sunday 12 May. In the lead up to this important day, join us in celebrating the economic power of care and service excellence embodied by our nurses and the transformative impact they have on the future of nursing in Scotland.

In today’s piece from our colleague Heather Wallace, Senior Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Nurse in ARHAI Scotland, we’re highlighting the crucial role that our nursing colleagues in ARHAI Scotland have in keeping us all safe.

For the last 10 years, Heather has worked as a senior nurse in Infection Prevention and Control, working across four priority work programmes: Infection Control in the Built Environment, National Policy, Guidance and Evidence, Community Infection Prevention and Control and, more recently, Clinical Assure.

Although Heather doesn’t work directly in a healthcare setting, as a cohort of senior nurses she and her colleagues are led by nurse consultants to support these programmes of work.

Heather said: “As a senior nurse working at national level, we have an important role in supporting our NHS boards to provide a resource for guidance for our staff to make sure we’re prepared for any emerging IPC issues. This is ultimately to protect and improve our patient experience and safety.”

ARHAI Scotland Infection Prevention and Control nurses provide a critical role in shaping best practice guidance for NHSScotland. They do this by transforming Scotland’s healthcare by collaboration, innovation and clinical leadership are all fundamental to improving NHS services.

Heather added: “We’re often asked to provide the Infection Prevention and Control component for other specialist services when considering service redesign, new healthcare builds or refurbishments.

“Representing the clinical IPC component, my role was to understand the risks for the facilities available for cataract surgery and throughout the patient care pathway for this treatment.

“As a national body, understanding these risks provided assurance for our patient groups that our building infrastructures and processes were safe for clinical use with any perceived risks mitigated.”

ARHAI Scotland IPC were one of six task and finish groups requested by the Scottish Government to support a commission for improving cataract services. The aim was to maximise productivity for a fast-paced, high volume cataract surgery list without compromising patient safety. The aim was that this would help waiting times for a vulnerable population and improve health outcomes for patients with cataracts.

Ultimately, a robust Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) pathway was developed with support from Heather and specialist stakeholders that could be used for cataract services. This pathway can now also be implemented for similar NHSScotland services.

Of her work on this group, Heather concluded: “Getting it right first time for our stakeholders is crucial and provides the economic power for our NHS going forward.”

#IND2024 #OurNursesOurFuture