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'Although there have been significant reductions in MRSA and C difficile, it’s an ongoing challenge'

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We talk to Julie Hughes, nurse consultant infection control/senior lecturer, 5 Boroughs Partnership Foundation Trust/University of Chester, who qualified as a nurse in 1980.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I was impressed by the staff who looked after my little sister when she on the intensive care unit at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital before she died many years ago. They inspired me to become a children’s nurse.

Where did you train?

I trained at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Broadgreen Hospital, because I did the combined RSCN/RGN course.

What was your first job?

Staff nurse in the accident and emergency department at Alder Hey. I loved it.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I could worry for Britain.

From whom have you learnt most in your career and why?

I’ve worked with some exceptional, inspiring nurses and many of them are friends. My cousin Val is a fantastic paediatric Macmillan nurse. I learnt a great deal from Norma, an auxiliary nurse who looked after my sister - she was one of the kindest, caring people I ever worked with later on. Mary, a ward domestic, was brilliant with patients and is still a good friend. I have learnt a lot from patients and their families, including my mum who looked after my sister and father before they died and who would have made an excellent nurse.

What keeps you awake?

Doing my professional doctorate - I have just handed in my thesis. My daughter is backpacking around Asia and Australia for a year which doesn’t stop me worrying. I also find it hard to believe that we’re in the 21st century and there’s still so much poverty and war.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Seeing reductions in healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) although more could still be done.

Your proudest achievement?

Professionally, doing my doctorate and winning the Nursing Times 2010 Infection Prevention Award.

What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?

There are going to be further advancements in technology and a lot of changes around roles, which should provide more opportunities for nurses to lead in developing care.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

I love my current job but maybe an assistant director of nursing or lead researcher role.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

Eradicate HCAIs. Although there have been significant reductions in MRSA and C difficile, it’s an ongoing challenge, particularly with increasing antimicrobial resistance and advancements in care leading to an even more vulnerable patient population.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

Probably my father although he passed away six years ago. He would have loved to hear how we were all getting on and was a great advocate of the NHS.

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