Danielle Richards – Infection Control Practitioner
Written by Evan Duxbury
How did you end up where you are now?
I grew up in BC and began nursing at VGH before taking the emergency program at BCIT. I worked in the emergency department at St Paul’s (SPH) from 1999 to 2004. During that time I studied Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool; then worked in Angola for a year with Medecins Sans Frontiers. I completed my Masters in Human Security and Peace Building at Royal Roads University, and subsequently worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada.After returning from a maternity leave, I knew I wanted a change, so I contacted my former manager in SPH emergency who recommended contacting Howard, the Leader of the Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) department at PHC.
What’s your role at PHC?
I’m an Infection Control Practitioner; I work to prevent and control the spread of health care associated infections. Our team does this through surveillance, education on the units and the LINKS Program. Through the LINKS program, we develop and support IPAC champions on the units and in specialty departments.
What’s the best part of your job?
The autonomy and the variety. Our department is governed by strategic plans, yet we have flexibility in how we implement them. As a result,I spend a lot of time working with staff directly, which I really enjoy. This allows me to maintain a level of clinical engagement even though I’m no longer working directly with patients.
Every day brings something new; I get to work in acute and long term care settings as well as at PHC’s Crosstown Clinic, on all kinds of IPAC initiatives, from hand hygiene to surveillance.
How does your role differ from your counterparts at other HAs?
I think PHC’s IPAC department is on the cutting edge. Our onsite laboratory is world class and gives us a big advantage as get results much sooner. The Infection Control Practitioners are well supported by a team of Medical Microbiologists which allows our team to take a comprehensive approach to every case. Finally, as far as I know, our LINKS program is unique and is helping us build IPAC sustainability on the units.
If there’s one thing you’d like people to know about your work, what would it be?
Our department produces a lot of current literature. We’re currently evaluating the effectiveness of antiseptic wipes on the medicine unit sat SPH.
What’s the most interesting thing going on at work?
CPO is a newly emerging antibiotic resistant organism, so it’s been very interesting working on the policies and education to support staff at PHC.
One of our colleagues just returned from our national Infection Control Conference in Halifax. Our abstract was submitted and chosen as a poster presentation which ended up winning best poster (as chosen by conference participants)!
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Chuck, Cheryl's husband