Clinical Nurse and PhD student
Nicole is a PhD student with the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Nursing at Griffith University and is a Clinical Nurse in Haemotology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Her PhD focuses on the effect that parenteral nutrition has on microbial growth and its influence upon catheter-related blood stream infection (CRBSI) in patients with a central venous access device (CVAD). Nicole wants to investigate if there are differences between patients who receive parenteral nutrition (PN) and those who don't and look at whether practices of managing PN CVADs and intravenous administration sets (IVAS) have an effect of CRBSI, for example the configuration of IVAS. Her investigation aims to challenge the premise that patients with PN are at a higher risk of developing CRBSIs. The intention is to see if the micro-organisms that cause CRBSIs grow differently in PN and non-PN solutions that are infused into our patients. The research design will take a basic science approach to this research question. Nicole will spend about 6 to 9 months in a microbiology laboratory to carry out growth curve experiments manipulating different variables such as solutions, temperatures and aerobic environment. To date no previous research has approached this problem in a systematic manner.
Nicole is interested in whether clinicians are putting their patients at risk each time an IVAS is replaced. Each time a connection or port on the IVAS is manipulated an opportunity to introduce a pathogen from the patients skin, healthcare workers hands or the environment is presented. During her research she will develop a dynamic laboratory model to represent the components of the IVAS connected to patients via their CVAD. This model will allow her to design experiments that will mimic touch contamination in clinical practice. Micro-organisms that cause CRBSIs will be used to contaminate different ports along the IVAS. Nicole will be able to use this dynamic to test the feasibility of extending the replacement of IVAS beyond 24 hours.