- What does your role at Monash Health entail?
Infection Control Consultants are responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of the Infection Control and Prevention program at Monash Health. We are involved in activities that include protocol and procedure development, surveillance and monitoring infections, staff immunisation and education, as well as being a resource and advisory person for any Infection Control issues. At all Monash Health sites there is an Infection Control Consultant, and we all work as part a team with an Infectious Diseases Physician and a Microbiologist.
- Influenza Vaccination is a huge priority at Monash Health. How can you help to encourage others to get their vaccination?
We educate staff and explain how beneficial it is to have the flu vaccine annually, not only to protect our vulnerable patients but also to protect themselves, their families and their work colleagues. All unvaccinated health care workers have a higher risk of acquiring influenza and transmitting it to our patients. Staff at the Kingston Centre have shown a great willingness to partake in the annual influenza vaccination program and at Kingston Centre, we constantly lead the way for Monash Health with high vaccination rates – in 2018 it was 83% and we hope to achieve even higher this year.
- What interests and hobbies do you have outside of work?
I like keeping fit, eating healthy [mainly vegan foods thanks to my vegan daughter who loves to cook], and travelling to exotic places with my husband. I’m also trying to learn how to play golf by taking golf lessons. It is a very slow progress though!
- Talk us through your journey at Monash Health?
I have been working in Infection Control for over 12 years and have worked at most Monash Health sites in that time. I came to the Kingston Centre in 2015 and liked it so much that I wanted to stay – the staff are very special here. Previously I have always worked in Intensive Care wards in large hospitals mainly in NSW, QLD, the UK and Saudi Arabia. Infection Control was a significant change for me but like many other ICU nurses, I could see how critical infection control is in a patient’s journey back to good health.
- What are the biggest challenges your team faces?
I find Infection Control to be very challenging in many ways. Infection prevention practices are critically important for all health care workers as mistakes and poor techniques can lead to serious adverse events for our patients. Infection Control staff can sometimes be perceived as watch dogs and it can be difficult to be accepted by all healthcare workers when trying to promote excellent practice. A lot of our work involves change management which is not always readily accepted by staff who are often under time restraints, among other issues. We are very skilled at promoting and influencing change and do need to be exceedingly patient. However, when we succeed and practice becomes safer it is extremely rewarding.
- What has your biggest achievement at Monash Health been?
The improved ultraviolet marking rates for cleaning at Kingston [with the help of support services], the reduction and improved management of gastroenteritis outbreaks over the last 11 years and of course the improved influenza vaccination rates in our staff.
- What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Being part of a team that decreases infection rates and helps to make Kingston Centre a safer place for our patients.
- If you weren’t working in your current role, what would you be doing? Holidaying in an exotic place!
- One thing about me that people probably don’t know is…I ran a half marathon to celebrate turning 50.