Two children’s nurseries has become the first in the country to sign-up to a specialist infection control course designed specifically for early year settings which have re-opened following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff at High Bank Day Nursery in Stapleton, near Darlington, and Little Ladybirds Day Nursery in Stockton are all taking the online course as part of the measures both nurseries have taken to protect children, staff, and parents from Coronavirus. On successful completion of the course, staff receive a personalised certificate.
The ‘Introduction to infection control course’ has been written by Sharon Egdell, an Infection Control specialist who provides Infection Control consultancy to a range of public and private sectors, including health and social care, through a family run business, Influence Consultancy Services.
Sharon is a Registered Nurse and qualified 35 years ago. She has been an Infection Control specialist in the NHS for 15 years. She has also worked for a Public Health England Health Protection Team, so is well placed to advise on a pandemic like Covid-19.
Sharon says: “Pre-Coronavirus, I would be advising the healthcare sector on how to control the spread of infections such as the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus, seasonal flu and numerous antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA.
“And in my career, I have been involved in contact tracing following large-scale food poisoning and other infectious disease outbreaks and in 2009, I was involved in the NHS response to the Swine Flu pandemic.”
Sharon got her inspiration for the infection control course for early years settings from her four-year-old grand-daughter Margot.
She explains: “This was before Covid-19, so when it was declared a pandemic and the country went into lock-down, it was clear that nurseries would need to adapt hygiene measures when they could re-open.
“Young children are little bug machines, so I took an active interest in hygiene standards in nurseries.”
Margot features in the hand hygiene video in the course, showing the children how to wash their hands.
Sharon adds: “The course is designed to unravel, simplify and explain how to implement the Covid-19 infection control advice and guidance that has been published by Public Health England and various other industry bodies.
“But it also gives nurseries all the infection control tools they need to maintain a safe working environment and reduce the risk of other nasty infections, such as Norovirus and flu, from spreading in these settings.”
Sharon’s course covers topics such as how infectious diseases spread and how to “break the chain of infection” through understanding effective hand hygiene, PPE, cleaning, and disinfection.
Lesley Thompson, Owner of High Bank and Little Ladybirds Day Nurseries, was the first to take the course.
She said: “Once we knew we were able to re-open from 1st June, it was clear we needed a new infection control policy to protect our children, staff and parents from Covid-19.
“Sharon’s course is professionally written, very extensive, easy-to-understand and covers every aspect that was required for successfully opening the nurseries.
“But it also means we are in strong position in the future as we continue to adapt and respond to infection control issues.”