Jackie Burbidge is the theatres' service manager at Harefield Hospital. She manages all aspects of our theatre services, including the clinical staff who work in that area.
How did you come into this profession?
I began by doing voluntary work with children with learning disabilities while my kids were still young. From this experience, I felt I could do more within the NHS setting, so when my children were older I began my nurse training in Kent. My family then moved to Cambridge and I worked at Papworth Hospital in the theatre department for seven years.
We then moved to Lincolnshire where I worked in theatres for a district general hospital. However, I missed being in a specialised hospital and in 1996 began working at Harefield as a practice educator. In 2001 I took up my current position as service manager.
Tell us about the work done in your area of the hospital.
We provide adult cardiothoracic and transplant services to patients. We are a dynamic department, delivering care to patients with a variety of diseases and we continue to respond to the changes in frontline patient management.
What is your role in the theatre department?
I manage all aspects of theatres to ensure that an excellent service is provided to all of our patients and oversee the clinical staff who work in the area. Together we ensure that the best practice for patients is at the forefront of everything.
What is the best thing about working in theatres?
I think the best thing about being in theatres is knowing that patients come here for surgery and have serious heart or lung diseases. What we do here in theatres will make a huge change to their lives.
And the downside?
The frustration of trying to ensure patients receive the best care possible when you have to continually plough through red tape.
What steps have been taken in your area to minimise the risk of the spread of infections such as MRSA?
We regularly audit a range of practices such as skin preparation, etc. We also provide programmes for new registrars coming into theatres and work closely with infection control to ensure we are up to date and using the best practice available.
I attend regular meetings with ISS (our contracted cleaning team) to discuss areas of concern and to rectify these issues. We receive wound surveillance nurse reports allowing us to respond to the data issued monthly and quarterly. There is also a robust estates maintenance plan in theatres.