A health board and a university are teaming up to implement and evaluate a new community-based link nurse programme on infection prevention in Wales.
Nursing Times has been told that the new programme is specifically aimed at link nurses working in community hospital settings, with around 20 currently enrolled to take part in the course.
“Little evidence exists to show link nurses’ contribution to promoting best practice”
The project involves staff from the infection prevention team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and staff and students from Bangor University’s school of healthcare sciences.
The programme is designed to support staff in the link role and provide opportunities for learning via a bespoke online course and regular contact with infection prevention specialist nurses.
Those behind the initiative highlighted that, as well enhancing infection prevention knowledge and skills, the course is also intended to promote learning about behaviour change in practice and leadership skills, and to offer structured opportunities for reflection about best practice.
Each course unit links to an online discussion board to promote networking and support, which the link nurses can access at their convenience.
The programme will be formally evaluated in 2017 to see how and whether the programme has impacted on infection control practice and behaviour.
New Welsh link nurse programme on infection prevention
Tracey Cooper, the health board’s assistant director of nursing for infection prevention, told Nursing Times that the programme was intended to “continue long-term”, depending on the evaluation results.
Meanwhile, Dr Lynne Williams, a senior lecturer and research fellow in Bangor’s school of healthcare sciences, said: “We are delighted to be working with the infection prevention team on this exciting venture.
“Link nurse programmes are nothing new in nursing, but little evidence exists to show exactly their contribution to promoting best practice,” she said.
“We have worked together to develop a comprehensive programme which encourages reflection on practice, and offers link nurses an opportunity to stop and think about issues, and promote their own development as leaders in this highly important area of practice,” she added.