Condobolin Hospital wins Innovation Award

Clinical Nurse Educator and Infection Prevention and Control Co-ordinator Susannah Ford with the Western NSW Local Health District Innovation Award. Image Credit: Western NSW Local Health.

By Melissa Blewitt

 

Condobolin Health Service has won the Western NSW Local Health District Innovation Award.

The ‘Making antimicrobial stewardship a priority in the acute rural facility’ project was initiated and conducted under the guidance of Clinical Nurse Educator and Infection Prevention and Control Co-ordinator Susannah Ford.

“It’s a simple project really,” Mrs Ford explained.

“Basically the program is aimed at trying to reduce the amount of antibiotics being used in Condobolin.

“Along with trying to reduce the amount of antibiotics used, we wanted to ensure all patients, if they are on antibiotics, that there is a legitimate reasons for them to be on them. And if they are on antibiotics, then we also make sure it is the right one.

“I think there is huge pressure from the public in this modern day of technology. People can google their symptoms and there is an expectation that antibiotics can cure almost everything.

When penicillin was discovered, it was a miracle drug that cured things that you would die of before. Now there is a tendency for patients to believe that antibiotics is the answer.

“Lots of people present with viral infections, that antibiotics will not do anything for. The whole project is about reducing the amount of antibiotics we use and making sure there is a real reason or need to have antibiotics, and ensure we are using the right antibiotic.”

Mrs Ford added this was an “exciting” time for Condobolin Health Service, as there is potential for the project to be replicated in other sites, similar in size.

“This is a nurse-led initiative, and there are very few places in NSW doing what we are doing,” she stated.
“We are the only Hospital in the Local Health District to be undertaking something like this at the moment. There is an opportunity that this program will be implemented in other facilities.
“I am so excited that the program has worked and I know we have good reliable data that has the potential to impact change and improve how we use antibiotics.
“What is even more exciting is the conversation it has started. Clinical staff are thinking more about antimicrobial stewardship at the bedside. There is more questioning and concern about how we use antibiotics.
“When I come to work, I am often greeted with sticky notes, phone messages from clinical staff wanting to ensure we are giving the right antibiotics for the right reasons.
“Patients are receiving less unnecessary antimicrobial therapy within Condobolin and this means less medications and less associated side effects.”
According to Mrs Ford, antibiotics resistance was a global problem and that all health professionals have a responsibility to fight it.
“In Condobolin, antimicrobial stewardship is no longer just 3.14 of standard 3 of the national standards that we can tick off. It is a viable, worthwhile program improving how we use antibiotics in our facility and a demonstration of how good rounding and accountability really can make a difference in improving how we care for our patients.”
Mrs Ford said just because Condobolin is a small town, didn’t mean patient quality of care was compromised.
“I find it so encouraging for Condobolin. People can come and work here as a nurse and do some really good things,’ she said.
“It just goes to show it can be really exciting career to be a nurse in Condobolin. We live here and we care about our community. It is really empowering for women that they can have a great career in Condobolin and don’t have to go to a bigger, metropolitan hospital.
“I get to do a million things that other don’t get to do, and am challenged on a daily basis.” MB

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