Julie Ritchie

Julie Ritchie always holds the patient
and their safety at the centre of all
she does to promote good hand hygiene.

Infection Control Clinical Nurse Specialist
West Coast District Health Board
Hand hygiene gold auditor of the quarter, November 2012

Julie Ritchie is not only a gold auditor for West Coast DHB’s (WCDHB) hand hygiene project. She is a hand hygiene and infection control champion, and is well respected throughout the DHB for her tireless efforts to improve hand hygiene behaviour.

“Julie’s dedication, drive and initiative to improve hand hygiene performance within the West Coast DHB has been consistent over many years,” says Jenny Woods, WCDHB’s Community Quality Coordinator.

“She is a mentor for hand hygiene and infection control and has a positive influence on staff. She has kept hand hygiene awareness high up on the organisation’s radar, always challenging staff to improve outcomes by incorporating evidence of best practice standards,” adds Jenny.

To ensure auditing runs smoothly, Julie begins about four to six weeks prior to the hand hygiene data submission date. She also advises clinical nurse managers in advance that auditing is due to commence and audits wards for no more than one hour each time, at the busiest time of the day, usually between 8:30 and 10am.

When it comes to advising staff that they have missed a hand hygiene moment, Julie takes it on a situation by situation basis. She always takes the time to discuss it with the healthcare worker, often handing them a 5 moments educational wallet card and, where appropriate, raises it with the clinical nurse manager.

Having such an in-depth focus on hand hygiene auditing at WCDHB means Julie is completely in tune with where the greatest need for hand hygiene education lies.

“Julie willingly goes the extra mile, guiding and helping people to understand why and how hand hygiene should be performed,” says Jenny.

To do this Julie uses performance results to target healthcare worker groups and wards that need most support, providing educational resources and making herself available for presentations and team talks.

“Hand hygiene as an essential part of infection control and Julie always holds the patient and their safety at the centre of all she does,” she adds.