Trish Russell

Trish Russell believes healthcare workers have a
responsibility to perform good hand hygiene for the
wellbeing and safety of patients.

Registered Nurse Radiology
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board
Hand Hygiene New Zealand Clean Hands Champion 2013

TO STATE that Trish Russell is a hand hygiene champion is somewhat of an understatement. Trish has worked tirelessly to role model, educate, advocate, and improve hand hygiene practice among staff at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s (DHB) large multi-disciplinary radiology department.

The radiology department, which manages both inpatient and community based patients, sees very high volumes of patients visiting one or more of the seven radiology specialities every day. The sheer number and constant movement of people makes the radiology department an infection control risk area.

According to Barbara McPherson, Infection Control Advisor at Hawke’s Bay DHB, first and foremost Trish was diligent in increasing her own hand hygiene knowledge and practice according to the five moments approach.

With the confidence of this knowledge behind her, Trish took on the responsibility of becoming the infection liaison representative for the radiology department, and then became a hand hygiene gold auditor in December 2012.

“Trish is most definitely a hand hygiene champion and has taken on a real hand hygiene leadership role within the department,” says Barbara.

“Not only does she role model consistently outstanding hand hygiene practice, but she regularly observes practice, discusses methods, educates, and stresses that the five moments for hand hygiene approach is an important strategy to ensure best practice and promote patient safety.

“Trish’s leadership skills have helped her to engage staff by supporting them to understand the application of the five moments approach in their unique workplace. This has resulted in practice change across the department,” adds Barbara.

To do this Trish started by adapting the five moments tool to make specific, easy to follow guidelines for each of the disciplines within the radiology department. This ensures that the principles of the five moments are met without compromising workflow and workload.

“In a throughput-driven department, the introduction of anything that is perceived to slow work flow can be challenging to implement,” says Barbara.

“Trish’s calm manner, patience, and humour have provided radiology staff with a smooth introduction to the five moments for hand hygiene strategy with minimal disruption,” she says.

Education across such a diverse range of staff disciplines has required differing strategies. But education, says Barbara, is Trish’s forte.

“Trish has developed audit checklists for the department. She observes the workflow in the radiology department and identifies break downs in practice. Next she discusses the best and most appropriate application of the five moments to improve compliance,” says Barbara.

Trish also uses a variety of other educational techniques to encourage practice change and improvement in compliance. This has varied from demonstrating the five finger technique and using the ‘glogerm’ box to illustrate the effectiveness of practising good hand hygiene. She also promotes and ensures completion of the Hawke’s Bay DHB online hand hygiene learning module.

A big win for Trish has been enlisting radiology champions to promote and gain ownership of hand hygiene.

“Through Trish’s leadership there has been a marked improvement across all radiology disciplines in terms of understanding, knowledge and compliance of hand hygiene,” says Barbara.

“Trish’s achievements will be used as a role model for other departments in Hawke’s Bay DHB,” adds Barbara.


“Good hand hygiene plays a major part in preventing cross-infection within the healthcare setting. As professionals it is our responsibility to ensure that we do all we can to maintain the health and wellbeing of our patients and ourselves,” says Trish.

“Colleagues from all modalities within radiology have supported the hand hygiene initiatives and it feels pretty good knowing that as a department everyone is prepared to achieve best practice,” she adds.

  • Be a good role model
  • Believe that everyone wants to achieve best practice and that they are willing to learn new ways of achieving this
  • Acknowledge that change can take time and keep supporting each other
  • Make learning fun and recognise people’s achievements.