Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT), Lead Nurse, Wythenshawe Hospital
On a typical day
A typical OPAT day starts at 8.00am and involves managing the daily OPAT infusion clinic which specialises in treating patients with infections ranging from simple skin and soft tissue infections to complex infectious diseases. Following clinic, new referrals to the OPAT service are reviewed either on the wards or in the department. Afternoons are usually filled with inserting lines into veins and catching up with projects I am involved in such as the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) Steering Group for OPAT.
My nursing journey and career
I trained at Tameside School of Nursing from 1993-1996 and on qualification worked within the surgical directorate. This allowed me to gain experience of caring for vascular, urology, breast, gastro and abdominal/general surgical patients, before I then moved to North Manchester General Hospital’s High Dependency Unit.
I developed an interest in managing infections whilst working in critical care and became a specialist nurse in the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) team in 2007. In 2015 I joined Wythenshawe Hospital to pilot an Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service. This treats patients with infections in the outpatient setting using intravenous therapies. The pilot scheme had a target to ‘save’ 100 bed days in six months and employed one 1 nurse (me) with the support of two Infectious Disease consultants. Today the OPAT team has eight staff, provides various infection management services and has ‘saved’ over 20,000 bed days. I’ve presented at various conferences on my experiences setting up the service and how challenges have been overcome.
One way I’ve made a difference as a nurse or midwife
I’ve always tried to use each challenge as an opportunity – for example when there wasn’t a reliable line insertion service for the OPAT patients, meaning patient discharges were delayed, I set a line insertion service up.
What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing & midwifery?
Nursing is a career that can take you in any direction, whether that’s literally across the globe or, like me, across specialities. Whatever aspect of nursing you are interested in there’s a job opportunity out there.
For more information about nursing and midwifery careers at MFT please visit https://mft.nhs.uk/careers/