Satellite Roles on the Infection Prevention Team Improve Practice

Deborah Barry, BSc, RGN, clinical lead nurse for infection prevention and control and Yvonne Carter, BSc, RGN, service lead nurse for infection prevention and control, from the Royal Free Hampstead Trust in the UK, say that changing demands on infection prevention and control require managers to think about roles and responsibilities within the infection prevention team, and that new satellite roles in the infection prevention team support clinical specialist nurses, improve practice and increase patient confidence.

Barry and Carter (2010) describe the development of satellite roles in such a team that resulted in reduced healthcare-associated infections, as well as improved clinical practice and patient satisfaction. Satellite roles focus on specific job functions to complement the role of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and are related to one area or subject within the remit of the CNS.

Barry and Carter (2010) add that satellite roles enable increasing numbers of infection control staff to be visible in clinical areas to reinforce good clinical practice and ensure sustainable changes; that investment in satellite roles improves patient experience and outcomes and contributes to year-on-year improvements in reductions in healthcare-associated infections; and that practice educators can transfer lessons learned from one clinical area to the next they work in.

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Reference: Barry D and Carter Y. Developing satellite roles in infection prevention teams to fulfil responsibilities. Nursing Times. 106:36, early online publication Sept. 11, 2010.