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Northampton nurse up for prestigious UK accolade for transforming awareness of PPE waste

Holly Slyne- RCN shortlisted nurse

Holly Slyne, Associate Director of Infection Prevention

A nurse who slashed unnecessary PPE use by breaking pandemic working habits is up for a prestigious award.

Holly Slyne, Associate Director of Infection Prevention at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, has been selected from 920 entries as a finalist in the Greener Nursing Practice category of the RCN Nursing Awards 2023.

Holly will find out if she has won at a ceremony on Friday 10 November at Liverpool Cathedral. The overall RCN Nurse of the Year 2023, selected from all the category winners, will also be announced at the event.

From observations and surveys, Holly and team identified eight trends in overuse of gloves and aprons, and made a training package to address them, including TikTok videos, posters and screensavers. She also showed staff how some unnecessary use of PPE could actually spread infection.

Porters, domestic and catering staff 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.

Holly said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be a finalist in these prestigious awards, but this was a team project. It 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.’ 

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: ‘Our inspiring finalists demonstrate the very best of nursing and what can be achieved in some of the challenging times for the profession.

‘They highlight the wide variety of ways nurses improve the care of people at all stages of life and how they demonstrate their professionalism and clinical excellence every day, and in every setting, throughout the UK.’

The Foundation of Nursing Studies is the award’s charity partner this year. Its chief executive and current chair of the judging panel Joanne Bosanquet MBE said: ‘The quality of entries this year was superb and it was near impossible to choose our finalists from the creative and innovative work submitted. 

‘The shortlist showcases excellence and recognises the enormous difference that nurses make to people’s lives throughout the UK.’

The RCN Nursing Awards will this year be held alongside the inaugural Nursing Live, a new and dynamic event for everyone who works in nursing.  Hosted over two days (November 10th-11th) at the ACC complex in Liverpool, the event will focus on both the professional and personal development of nurses at every stage of their careers and will be the first event of its kind for the sector.

For a full list of finalists, please visit https://rcni.com/nurse-awards/finalists-category
Press release shared from the RCN.

Posted on Monday 14th August 2023