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NGH nurse wins top national award for campaign to prevent unnecessary waste

Holly Slyne- RCN shortlisted nurse

A nurse who ran a campaign to cut down on the unnecessary use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Northampton General Hospital has won a prestigious national award.

Holly Slyne, Associate Director of Infection Prevention, was selected from 920 entries as a finalist in the Greener Nursing Practice category of the RCN Nursing Awards 2023.

And on Friday (10 November), at Liverpool Cathedral, she was announced as winner of the award.

From observations and surveys, Holly and her team identified eight trends in overuse of gloves and aprons following the COVID pandemic.

To address this she developed a training campaign which included TikTok videos, posters, and screensavers. She also showed staff how some unnecessary use of PPE could actually spread infection.

Holly said: "I’m absolutely delighted to see our entry win this prestigious award. This was a real team project and would not have been successful without colleagues in clinical areas engaging and reducing their PPE use, colleagues in procurement supplying the data, and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare team offering support and encouragement.

“Infection protection and control are often seen as blockers to green or sustainable changes in healthcare, so it was great to be leading a sustainable change. I feel very proud of all our staff for delivering such a phenomenal change to practice.”

Porters, domestic and catering staff also received training in how to cut waste. The initiative is forecast to save 25,974kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), and £22,687 over the year.

Awareness of unnecessary PPE also surged. Before Holly's initiative, only 12% of nurses responded correctly to surveys on correct PPE use. This increased to 98% after it was introduced.

Chair of the judging panel Joanne Bosanquet, Chief Executive of the Foundation of Nursing Studies and Fellow of the RCN, said: "We were blown away by the talent of all our nominees and finalists in the Greener Nursing Practice category.

“But the work to reduce PPE use really stood out. It had very clear aims and methodology and Holly Slyne’s leadership and staff engagement was outstanding. Carbon reduction is impressive, as are the cost savings.”

Chief Nursing Officer at Northampton General Hospital, Nerea Odongo, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Holly and our infection prevention and control team and I want to say a big thank you to all of the hospital teams who so enthusiastically took up the challenge to reduce unnecessary waste"

Posted on Monday 13th November 2023
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