Dr Vaughan Richardson promotes a positive hand hygiene
culture throughout the NICU.

Clinical Leader, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Capital and Coast District Health Board

DR VAUGHAN RICHARDSON, Clinical Leader for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wellington Hospital, leads by example as he strives to lower infection rates in the NICU through improved hand hygiene performance.

Not only does he demonstrate a high level of commitment to the World Health Organization’s 5 moments for hand hygiene approach, but he promotes a positive hand hygiene culture throughout the unit.

“Dr Richardson and the rest of the neonatal management team lead from the top and expect all staff to perform excellent hand hygiene,” says Viv McEnnis, Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Infection Prevention and Control Service at Capital and Coast District Health Board.

“In particular, Dr Richardson has oversight of the orientation programme for medical staff which includes hand hygiene, so he ensures that all new staff know what standards are expected right from the start.

“Dr Richardson practices what he preaches, and cleans his hands according to the 5 moments approach when he is on his ward rounds,” she says. “This may only be after touching the quilt resting on top of the incubator to look at the baby, but he does the same at each bed space he goes to.”

His commitment to excellent hand hygiene doesn’t stop there. Dr Richardson embraces the importance of hand hygiene performance auditing as an important means to track progress.

“He is enormously supportive to the gold auditors being present on the unit and conducting regular audits,” says Viv.

“Whenever we receive hand hygiene performance results for the unit, Dr Richardson is always interested.

“He actively compares the audit results for the rate of hand hygiene performance among medical staff and other groups of healthcare workers in the unit, and is dedicated to using this to pinpoint and target further performance improvements,” says Viv.

“When he sees lapses in hand hygiene practice he tells staff what he sees and also follows it up with managers. He is good at using humour to encourage compliance among his junior colleagues,” she adds.

In fact, the whole unit is so passionate about hand hygiene and other infection prevention and control practices, that they have a very low rate of healthcare-associated blood stream infection.

“I would like to thank Dr Richardson and the whole NICU team for their ongoing commitment to hand hygiene and for driving down the rate of healthcare-associated infections,” says Viv.

“Every day they put their small patients first. Their dedication to good hand hygiene practices is a good example of this in action,” she adds.