James Robertson has supported Capital and Coast DHB to achieve
fantastic hand hygiene performance results.

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Infection Prevention and Control team
Capital and Coast District Health Board
Hand hygiene coordinator of the quarter, May 2012

James Robertson has been the face of the hand hygiene programme at Capital and Coast DHB since it began in 2009.

As a clinical nurse specialist on the infection prevention and control team, James has embraced the hand hygiene coordinator role from the outset and has achieved some impressive results.

Performance has increased from a baseline range of 18-42% in 2009 to 65-90% in 2012, with an average compliance rate of between 70-80%.

James attributes this success, in part, to the relationships he has built with other staff members during this time; allowing him to successfully promote hand hygiene messages, educate healthcare workers and manage auditing requirements.

“The support we have in the DHB for the hand hygiene programme has been really great and is a key reason why our performance has improved,” says James.

“Our Director of Nursing, Kerrie Hayes, is very supportive, which demonstrates throughout the DHB the high priority that is placed on the importance of hand hygiene.

“Our communications team is also very supportive. They have helped me to keep momentum going to ensure awareness about hand hygiene remains high. This includes devising eye catching resources and posters and including information and key messages in newsletters and on the intranet,” adds James.

“We even developed a hand hygiene poster that featured Prime Minister John Key, which was well received”.

Not only does James promote the importance of good hand hygiene and the 5 moments approach within the DHB, but he plans and manages the auditing schedule and auditors.

James also presents hand hygiene performance data back to Capital and Coast DHB staff, including to the wider DHB. This often involves giving presentations at relevant DHB meetings such as Grand Rounds or at clinical governance committee meetings.

“Reporting performance data back to each ward and to the wider DHB is one of the most important parts of my role,” says James.

“Auditing must be a cyclical process with feedback. People want to know what their result is and how they can improve it,” says James.

“The reports we generate show which wards, groups of healthcare workers, and moments require further attention. This is then fed back to the appropriate wards and we discuss suggestions about how they can improve hand hygiene practice.

“From my experience this is a hugely beneficial part of the process as it can make a real difference to engagement with the ward and to how well they do,” he says.

According to James the feedback of performance results to wards and the wider DHB has also resulted in growing interest from clinicians.

“Over time they have seen the results that are coming through for our DHB. They are also familiar with the positive impact that our counterparts in Australia have had with their hand hygiene programme.

“There is a definite warming in the level of support we are seeing from them,” says James.