Dr Jennifer Cox was a recent guest of AFGW Central West for an informative talk on infection control in hospitals and homes. Jennifer is a lecturer in microbiology at Charles Sturt University Orange, specialising in training nurses and paramedics. Her talk was entitled “Superbugs and infections in hospitals and homes: why we need to rethink how we educate health professionals and the community”.

Although the means of infection control through frequent and timely hand-washing is very well-known, Jennifer has found that there are many occasions where this is neglected, exposing patients and staff to the risk of cross-infection. Building on a sound knowledge of the microbiology that underlies different types of infection, students are trained to develop habits of best practice and to follow them even when their colleagues neglect to do so. Jennifer’s insights into this area are now attracting attention across Australia and beyond , as the threat of superbug antibiotic resistance makes infection control an area of prime concern.

In the home Jenny advised caution in our use of products which make claims such as “germ-free”, stressing that hot soapy water is often more effective in destroying unhealthy bacteria.

Happily this is a return to Central West Branch for Jenny. In 2008 she was awarded the Dr Barbara Wright Scholarship by the Australian Federation of Graduate Women Central West, funding which assisted her in her PhD research. She warmly thanked the group and the local community for this support. Mother of two, Jennifer is not only a lecturer, but also helps run the family farm at Manildra. Her achievement in gaining a PhD shows that our Scholarship program is meeting the needs of rural women who aim for higher degrees, which is one of the goals Dr Wright herself supported.

(Provided by Central West)