I was asked to write a series of articles in the Nursing Times (along with my colleague and co-author Tracey Galletly) on the role of nurses in environmental hygiene*. Et voila:
- Environmental decontamination 1: what is it and why is it important?
- Environmental decontamination 2: the role of the nurse
- Environmental decontamination 3: auditing cleaning and disinfection
I found the series difficult to write – much more difficult than I had anticipated. The first part was easy peesy – I have spent many years contemplating the role of the environment and why it’s important! The second part was much harder. What exactly is the role of nurses in hospital cleaning and disinfection? Here’s what we came up with:
- Direct responsibility for cleaning / disinfecting items such as commodes and blood pressure monitors;
- Collaborating with cleaning and housekeeping staff;
- Developing policies and training schedules;
- Delivering training and education;
- Auditing the cleaning process;
- Informing purchasing decisions;
- Escalating cleaning issues;
- Supporting and driving innovation.
And then finally, I found the third part of the series, on auditing hospital cleaning and disinfection, hardest of all to write! We ended up covering the following:
- An overview of the various audit tools available (visual inspection, microbiological cultures, and process indicators such as fluorescent markers and ATP bioluminescence);
- Performing audits of hospital hygiene;
- Using data to drive improvement;
- How all of this helps to improve patient outcomes.
I am very, very grateful to have co-authored this series with Tracey (who is the lead IPCN at Imperial). Pleased to say these articles are open access; hope you find them useful.