‘Super trainer’ nurses to help care homes in Devon master infection control

A team of nurses at NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are switching roles to provide vital infection control training to care homes in the county, as part of the COVID-19 response.

The group say the change from their normal roles in quality assurance highlights the versatility that nurses are renowned for, and they are sharing their work to mark International Nurses Day today (12 May 2020).

Super trainers

The 15-strong group, made up of nurses from the CCG and local NHS provider organisations, have become ‘super trainers’ after completing an online course given by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London.

From next week, they will be passing on their expertise to care homes in Devon by giving free online sessions in procedures such as swabbing, how to correctly put on and take off (donning and doffing) personal protective equipment (PPE), and hand washing.

Supporting local care homes

Registered General Nurse Jo Shill, who is setting up the project, said: “There are more than 500 care homes across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and know they are under pressure. We hope to train 150 people a week when the project is fully operational, and we will also visit care homes that need further support.”

Challenging but informative

Quality assurance lead nurse Phil Clowes, who worked as a nurse in an accident and emergency department in London for 12 years, is among those to have had the training.

He said: “It’s quite challenging but is very informative training and the best way of learning is to do it for yourself, which is part of the course. We cover use of masks, gloves, aprons and eye shielding.

“Nurses are known for being versatile and adapting to new situations so even though it’s a change from my normal role, it doesn’t faze me and it’s part of the job.”

Keeping people in care homes safe

Phil, who moved to Plymouth in 2000 where he has also worked in intermediate care and continuing health care since then, added: “This is about supporting our fellow health and care colleagues to do the best they can to help people and keep them safe in care homes.”

Details on how care home colleagues can sign up for the training will be shared throughout the health and care system from next week.

Anyone who is inspired to become a nurse should visit www.proudtocaredevon.org.uk.

People across the country will show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus on International Nurses Day by putting a light, or a drawing of a light, in their window from 8.30pm. Join in on social media using #InternationalNursesDay.