First physio to be a Cystic Fibrosis Trust fellow improves hospital infection control

Infection control at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary has been improved by physio Rachael Bass, as part of her fellowship with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Rachael Bass: a Cystic Fibrosis Trust fellowship is an extremely worthwhile and valuable experience

She was the first physiotherapist to be awarded a fellowship by the national charity. Her 12-month term, which ended in July, gave her the opportunity to explore the condition, treatments and best practice and bring her learning back to benefit patients in Newcastle.

‘Through the fellowship, I was able to compare infection control measures in various centres and benchmark our own practice,’ said Ms Bass.

‘I completed an audit and, as a result, we have better cleaning of equipment and allocation of beds and a heightened sense of awareness among all professions about the importance of infection control, particularly in relation to mycobacterium abscessus.’

Gaining insight

Cystic Fibrosis Trust fellowships had previously only been open to medical professionals, until the Association of the Chartered Physiotherapists in Cystic Fibrosis proposed opening the field.

When she saw the charity’s advertisement for a physiotherapy fellowship, Ms Bass decided to apply. ‘I had worked in cystic fibrosis for 18 months, and wanted to specialise in this condition. The fellowship seemed a perfect opportunity.

Over the year, Ms Bass’s role at the infirmary was funded by the charity. It enabled her to continue working clinically, and gave her time and money to attend at a wide range of courses, conferences and meetings. A King’s Fund’s clinical leadership course, is one example.

In addition, she travelled the UK visiting clinical centres for cystic fibrosis, with the aim of learning from their expertise.

‘All these experiences gave me invaluable insights and understanding,’ said Ms Bass.

Web exercise videos

The fellowship enabled her to research the benefits of Pactster, a website with free exercise videos for people with cystic fibrosis. Her six-week study of 30 adults will close shortly, with the results due to be published this autumn.

‘Altogether, this has been an extremely worthwhile and valuable experience,’ said Ms Bass. ‘For physios considering working in cystic fibrosis, the fellowship is an opportunity to improve their skills, which ultimately benefits patients.’

She added: ‘I feel that I am at the beginning of a career, rather than the end of a year.’

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