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I have been in the field of IV therapy / OPAT since 2002 when I worked within the acute sector to set up the OPAT service at Wexham park hospital alongside the East Berkshire community services.
During this time I attended Oxford to train on PICC line insertions using landmark techniques at this time, which was key to the service development. My role also encompassed developing training in IV therapy within the trust and supporting nurses within the hospital and in the community from Buckinghamshire. The service grew substantially over the years and eventually had an establishment of 2 staff . I undertook the training for other staff to insert PICCs / midlines for the service using landmark techniques as ultrasound technology was just coming into fashion.
I left this role in 2005 and moved to Aylesbury and away from IV therapy for a year doing clinical support for student nurses for the health authority (at the time). In 2007, I returned to OPAT in a community role within Buckinghamshire to help develop a county wide service that involved working with the acute hospital for OPAT service needs and develop IV training/ competencies for all community areas. Within this time a 6 month OPAT pilot was performed with a newly recruited team of nurses to work as an integrated service. The pilot was very successful but unfortunately the service was not approved to continue at this time by the Trust.
Subsequently I moved to work at Watford general hospital in 2009 as an IV specialist nurse. My role encompassed teaching and education, PICC insertion services for inpatients / oncology services, general review of policies & guidelines, equipment changes & OPAT development. This role was very varied and required more managerial tasks than having a clinical load at the start. It was very rewarding to see the development of staff, services offered and working with colleagues within the trust & surrounding counties to establish a start of robust OPAT service before I left in 2011.
I returned as the IV specialist nurse and OPAT lead to Buckinghamshire integrated trust to reinstate the OPAT service. We were a team of 4 for a year but now a team of 3 covering a 7 day working week service for OPAT and IV therapy support in the hospitals and cover the whole county. We no longer insert PICCs due to lack of capacity but a business case is being developed to look at this provision in the trust. OPAT development is a passion to me and how delivery of these services could be evolved without causing extra capacity in the community is a project I am working on.