Meet the infection prevention nurse: Gabriella D’Amato at Nuffield Health Cheltenham

Not content with educating hospital patients and staff about infection prevention during the pandemic, Nuffield Health Cheltenham’s infection prevention nurse, Gabriella D’Amato, is committed to learning more about the subject by studying for a master’s in it too.

By Eleanor Fullalove  |  Published
Infection Prevention is a key priority at Nuffield Health Cheltenham. Reducing the risk of patients and staff transmitting Covid is its number one focus.
Infection Prevention is a key priority at Nuffield Health Cheltenham. Reducing the risk of patients and staff transmitting Covid is its number one focus.

Working in infection prevention during a public health crisis certainly has its challenges. Fortunately, nurse Gabriella D’Amato at Nuffield Health Cheltenham takes them in her stride.

Located on the outskirts of the town, Cheltenham’s private hospital promises first class treatment spanning the full range of medical and surgical specialities, delivered in state-of-the-art clinical facilities

About the expert: Infection prevention nurse Gabriella D’Amato at Nuffield Health Cheltenham

 Gabriella D'Amato

Gabriella joined Cheltenham’s private hospital over the summer, after relocating to the Forest of Dean.

For her, the impossibility of knowing everything about bacteria and viruses, infections and transmission keeps things interesting.

The infection prevention expert and scholarship student spoke to SoGlos about how she was prepared for her role in Gloucestershire, the art of communicating with patients in PPE and how the hospital is working to achieve the gold standard in all aspects of infection prevention and control.

How long have you specialised in infection prevention?

I have been working in IP for four years. I’m currently undertaking my masters in infection prevention and control at the University of West London, which I was awarded a scholarship to do.

I am a member of the Infection Prevention Society and sit on the education and professional development committee there.

I am also a team member of ‘One together UK’; a partnership between leading professional organisations with an interest in the prevention of surgical site infections (SSIs).

When did you join the Nuffield?

I have worked at Nuffield Health Cheltenham since July 2021, but started my nursing career at Nuffield Health Oxford and worked as a staff nurse before going to work in infection prevention at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS foundation Trust for the last three and a half years.

Here, we were working at the forefront of the pandemic in one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals. This allowed me to learn so much before relocating back to the Forest of Dean, ready to bring my experience and knowledge back to Nuffield Health.

What Covid safety measures are in place at Nuffield Health Cheltenham right now?

There are hand sanitiser stations around the hospital and we encourage anyone in our building to use them. Currently, mask wearing for all staff and patients around the hospital is required. Social distancing with reduced numbers of people in the building is still followed and you will still be risk assessed on entrance to the hospital.

All patients receiving inpatient care are screened for SARS-COV-2 using PCR testing, 72 hours prior to procedure and you will still see some windows popped open at times.

Our number one focus is to reduce the risk for patients and staff of the transmission of the virus. The rules are slightly different to hospitals, as we care for vulnerable people, including those having cancer treatments or with low immunity.

We aim to achieve the gold standard in all aspects of infection prevention and control.

How has PPE affected your work?

It can be difficult with constant mask wearing – a lot of non-verbal communication is hidden with the mask. However, we have to protect each other and you can definitely show a smile with your eyes!

What do you find the most satisfying / challenging part of your job?

You never know everything. Things change the more we learn about bacteria and viruses, infections and transmission, but this is also satisfying and every day you can learn something new.

Preventing patients and staff from harm is something that I am most passionate about and the job allows me to educate and teach, which is something I really enjoy.

How do you switch off after a shift?

I don’t! With Covid-19 everywhere, it’s very hard to avoid it and the constant reminders are there, but I like to make cocktails and spend time with my husband and family.

In my spare time, I enjoy vintage shopping, particularly 1940s; I like to attend 1940s events too.

In partnership with Nuffield Health Cheltenham Hospital  |  nuffieldhealth.com/cheltenham

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