Making a thunderclap for clean hands

39 - @clean_hands_samHi. My name is Samantha Marsh and I am an Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at Grantham and District Hospital, part of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT).

Whilst in post for infection prevention at ULHT, I observed that hand hygiene was a big issue when it came to preventing infections and cross infections. Compliance and poor technique being the most concerning.

I can remember standing in a ward area observing people’s practices and physically carrying a bottle of hand rub around with me as a prompt.

This got me thinking!

Our staff are aware of the hand hygiene policy but were, undoubtedly, suffering from message fatigue. We needed to express ourselves differently and find ways to create a buzz about hand washing.

What if we designed some T-shirts and used them as a prompt for all members of staff? It was agreed that infection control link nurses could wear these T-shirts on a once a week basis around the clinical areas.

But why stop there?

Could we perhaps get other members of staff such as volunteering services, porters, even our matrons to wear the T-shirts to help push things forward and and improve not only the awareness but the compliance and the importance of hand hygiene.

We began a Twitter campaign using the Twitter name @clean_hands_sam to help create a buzz about basic hygiene. Primarily, this gave staff a way of showing their support by tweeting pictures of themselves demonstrating good hand hygiene – both internally and externally. Many messages carried the hashtag #inyourhands and ULHT’s improvement programme slogan #beyondgood.

It also gave me a way of spreading positive messages about hand hygiene and infection control good practice.

39 -clean hands posterSince beginning on December 9, I have tweeted more than 180 times and some of the tweeted pictures have been used as Trust-wide posters. These have featured nursing and medical staff and carry the message '#inyourhands. Show us how you’re passing on the message, not the germs'.

Pictures tweeted have also featured our medical director Dr Suneil Kapadia and members of the public.

To maintain momentum, I signed up to a Thunderclap mass sharing campaign. We need to get 100 or more people to support our message through the Thunderclap App. This will “mass share” our hand hygiene message to the followers of everyone who supports us – but we have to get to at least 100 supporters by Monday!

Click here and then support using Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

As Twitter is a public channel care was needed to ensure nothing inappropriate was published but it also gives us the opportunity to get the public involved as the campaign goes on. As well as tweeting fresh pictures as staff join in, the photos (with permission) can be used to refresh posters around the hospital sites.
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