Covid-19, a year in the role of Infection, Prevention and Control.

Jacky Hunt, Southern Health’s Lead Nurse for Infection, Prevention and Control

This didn’t put me off though, I loved the fascinating world of microbes! How can something so small and invisible cause so much misery to patients and their loved ones, staff and visitors? The challenge still remains the same to this day.

In some way, I have been training for the Coronavirus pandemic all my life. Sure, we have had some nasty global pandemic scares before , SARS, MERS, Zika, Ebola, Swine Flu pandemic in 2009 (just after our Trust had set up its own Community IPC Team), but never on this scale. Hands down, this has been the most professionally interesting, all absorbing and exhausting time of my entire career.

“What got me through apart from a strong faith and Netflix? Kindness! -Kindness from the general public.”

In my home village in April the whole high street was covered in NHS thank you posters and effigies of ‘super hero NHS staff’. I also remember sharing an 8pm Thursday clap outside Alton Hospital surrounded by police and fire service members. Our hospital team outside, all carefully standing 2 metres apart but yet ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the other key workers we were ‘in it together’. My brilliant manager and colleagues showed me kindness in texts, flowers, supportive words. Kindness from my wonderful IPC Team. Kindness from amazing friends and family, especially my husband and sons who made me endless meals, cups of tea, made no demands and left me alone when I needed space.

“The Cinderella of nursing specialities has finally come to the ball! Only others could say for sure but I’d like to think IPC is no longer seen as an ‘add on’ to care but more an integral part where good compliance with IPC precautions is synonymous with caring.”

I’m not sure if IPCNs have completely shed their ‘picky’ image and I know the focus on ‘all things IPC’ will wane with the pandemic. However, after the year we have just had, a few more staff will now see IPC professionals as part of their team, supportive not judgemental, here for them and their patients, here to help keep everyone safe.

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Southern Health

Southern Health

Southern Health provide community, specialist mental health and learning disability services for people across the south of England.