Ray Pickles goes the extra mile to improve hand
hygiene at Tairawhiti DHB.

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Infection Prevention Control Team
Tairawhiti District Health Board
Hand hygiene coordinator of the quarter, November 2012

Ray Pickles regularly goes the extra mile to improve hand hygiene behaviour within his DHB.

His commitment and determination to increase compliance has seen Tairawhiti go from a baseline compliance rate of 25 per cent in 2009, to 80.6 per cent in March 2014.

According to Jim Green, Chief Executive of Tairawhiti DHB, it hasn’t always been easy convincing staff to improve their hand hygiene. But with the belief it is the right thing to do and support from senior DHB clinical leadership and management, Ray has determinedly pushed on.

“After three years of persistently promoting and educating staff about the 5 moments for hand hygiene, Ray’s efforts have shown a direct correlation between improved hand hygiene and a reduction in the rate of infection, which demonstrates the importance of hand hygiene to patient safety,” says Jim, who nominated Ray for the award.

“Hand hygiene is only one aspect of Ray’s role but his dedicated approach really benefits patient care,” adds Jim.

Over the past three years Ray has worked his way around the DHB, making sure all healthcare worker and hospital disciplines, including cleaning staff, received training in the 5 moments for hand hygiene.

Not one to let an opportunity pass, he has also spent time dressed as a bug on World Hand Hygiene Day encouraging staff to use hand rub.

Likewise, Ray has activated a number of other awareness raising initiatives throughout the DHB, such as placing pink hand stickers on the floor at the entrance of every ward and unit to remind people to perform hand hygiene.

He has enthusiastically waved foam hands in the air to promote each of the 5 moments for hand hygiene, and is proactive at keeping the hand hygiene message alive through the DHB’s communications team.

Ray also ensures that a lack of access to hand rub cannot be an excuse. He regularly distributes hand rub to every bedside, ward, and hospital entrance and even ensures that Tairawhiti’s district nursing and inpatient mental health unit receive pocket sized bottles of hand rub.

“On top of his role as an infection control clinical nurse specialist and hand hygiene coordinator, Ray is also a gold auditor and collects a substantial proportion of the data submitted quarterly to HHNZ”, says Jim.

“He gives each ward or unit an individual compliance report, highlighting their quarterly result and supports them to maintain or improve hand hygiene compliance.

“Ray asked if he should nominate an area within the hospital for the HHNZ Quarterly Awards. I thought it would be good to nominate him!” adds Jim.