Engage, Empower and Inspire a Small Nursing Team to make a Difference

Mrs Ann Whitfield1

1Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, Perth, Australia 


Infection prevention (IP) is an integral part of healthcare and can significantly influence the safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community. Building capacity and sustainability within an IP nursing team is essential for an effective IP program which can reduce healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and improved patient outcomes. A developmental program was designed and implemented to engage, empower and inspire nurses working in IP.


The aim of the program was to empower a small specialist nursing team to improve patient outcomes and to develop resilience for individuals within the team. The program sessions incorporated evidence-based practice using National and International IP programs and Western Australia (WA) health policy.


The program targeted IP nurses from three different healthcare sites with different experiences and levels of expertise. Training modalities included presentations of policy/frameworks, reflection, scenarios and problem-solving real events.


Qualitative results identified participants experienced an increase in confidence knowledge and greater understanding of organisational role responsibility to improve patient safety. Nurses acknowledged the reflective practice supported an understanding to prioritise duties, teamwork and resilience. For some participants it was noted with exposure to the multi-faceted nature of an IP program,   there was a feeling of pressure needing to know everything. This was counteracted with the networking.


The program was successful in developing teamwork and resilience to provide a proactive IP program reducing harm. The recommendation is to evolve the program into an annual event and develop an IP service delivery model in collaboration with IP nurses.


Ann Whitfield is the Coordinator for Infection Prevention at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group and is credentialed with the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control.

Ann’s research interests include culture changes, building capacity in small teams, invasive devices and consumer involvement.

Recent Comments