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Mamdooh Alzyood is originally from Zarqa Governorate in Jordan. He joined the Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research as a PhD student in October 2015, and his thesis title is ‘The role of patient involvement in the promotion of hand-hygiene compliance among nurses in the hospital setting’.
I undertook my Master’s studies in infection prevention and control at Oxford Brookes University back in 2012. I was aware of the outstanding level of nursing education that Oxford Brookes provides for its students. I was very impressed with the University, particularly with regard to the education and support I received as an international student. I applied for my doctoral studies and felt privileged to be granted a place to commence my PhD studies in 2015.
Being a former postgraduate student at this institution was my main motive for choosing Oxford Brookes as the place that I would undertake my higher degree research. My success at the University would not have been possible without the support of my Master’s supervisors Marion Waite, Professor Debra Jackson and Dr Helen Aveyard. Furthermore, Oxford Brookes has a great atmosphere to undertake research in healthcare studies, with high-quality support groups, seminars and workshops that the Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research (OxINMAHR) provides.
Before my PhD, I worked as a staff nurse at the adult intensive care unit at Zarqa New Governmental Hospital. I had to develop my understanding of infection control, and this was made possible by the offer I received to do my Master’s degree at Oxford Brookes in 2012. I then started exploring the field of healthcare management, with a Master’s in Health Care Management from Northwest College, Reading, in 2014. During my time there, I worked with Marion Waite to run a postgraduate dissertation writing group as part of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes.
I have enjoyed the first three years of my doctoral studies and learned a lot. The research team and students have been very welcoming and supportive. Being one of Oxford Brookes’ and OxINMAHR’s research students has given me a real sense of support that all research students need. Conducting a large research project is challenging work. The University provides a range of support services to help my studies. With time, I realised that being a research student is not just about producing a piece of academic work; it is about the skills that I have developed. The supervision team have worked together to provide guidance and support specific to my project, while the research administration team oversee my course progression.
My study aims to understand the role of patients in the promotion of hand hygiene compliance among nurses in a hospital setting.
Globally, the Centres for Disease Control report that 1 in 25 hospitalised patients acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection on a daily basis. Irrespective of whether these patients are of middle-to-high income or from countries with better hospital resources, it is estimated that the risk to acquire healthcare-associated infection remains a very real danger around the globe.
Improving hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers is recognised as one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections. However, in most healthcare institutions, it is estimated that only 40% of healthcare workers adhere to recommended hand hygiene guidelines. Nurses are the most frequent healthcare personnel who are in contact with patients and their surroundings in the hospital care environment. Therefore, the role played by nurses is pivotal in minimising the risk of transmitting microorganisms, not only from patient to patient but also between healthcare workers. The role of patient involvement in minimising the risk of healthcare-associated infections through hand hygiene programmes for healthcare workers has not been fully researched. However, it is often suggested that patients should be involved in their care and that they have the right or even the responsibility to inform nurses (as healthcare providers) of any possible errors or adverse events.
Based on these arguments and a literature review, the first phase of the study will use focus groups to explore nurses’ views, attitudes and experiences if patients ask them to perform hand hygiene. The second phase of the study will collect data from patients who have the experience to remind nurses to perform hand hygiene through the use of the Critical Incident Technique. Finally, effective hand hygiene promotion strategies could be revealed as part of national and international efforts to enhance hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers via increased patient involvement.
Just like many other students, I needed time, practice, and support to become more comfortable and competent with new ways of learning, and even longer to become adept at these methods. Being a PhD student is about honouring time and energy, as these are the most precious commodities that a doctoral student has. Learning is enjoyable for me and at PhD level this is more challenging as I have to learn to be independent, to grow appropriately as a scientist and scholar, to be challenged to broaden my mind and develop intellectually and as a pragmatic problem solver, learn to disseminate work to a standard of doctoral level sophistication, and to produce a high quality PhD that generates new and useful knowledge.
From the first induction meeting for the research students to the rest of the sessions and workshops that I have attended, the training offered at Brookes has remained an engaging and motivating experience through which I have developed my knowledge and skills. I would recommend that all future research students attend these sessions and participate in different research activities, regardless of their area of interest. I would like to support the idea of the Postgraduate Research Symposium, where research students have the chance to present their work and progression as well as share ideas with other people who might put forward ideas from a fresh perspective.
Finishing my PhD is my top priority. I aim to produce a high-quality piece of academic work along with a strong personal and professional development profile, giving me the chance to pursue a career in academia or clinical research in the area of nursing and infection control.
I am also currently supervising students studying MSc Nursing Studies (Leadership in Clinical Practice) and MSc Management in Health Care as part of the Alliance of International Education, Hong Kong lead by Dr Helen Aveyard. This is a new addition to my area of expertise. I am planning to start teaching at a higher education institution in the UK to interact with my field in research and infection prevention and control from a different angle, developing my own understanding and helping to shape the knowledge of new students.