Name: (Elisabeth) Lisa Ridgway

Job title and institution: Retired Consultant Medical Microbiologist, previously at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Year you started IPC:  1987

How long have you been a member of HIS?  Since 1987


  • What was your route into IPC?   

When I was a trainee, Infection Control Teams were very small with maybe only one or two ICNs in a big teaching hospital - that was not unusual at the time. As a result, IPC was an integral part of my day-to-day work and I got lots of experience in managing cross-infection, and problems with decontamination, ventilation, water and so on. This broad knowledge gave me confidence and put me in a strong position when I became a consultant.

  • Why did you decide to become involved with HIS? (please try to weave in what benefit HIS has had on your career/development)

I first joined HIS as a trainee in order to access educational meetings and, most importantly, the Journal of Hospital Infection  which was hard to get hold of at that time. After I became a consultant, I served on Council and then on the Scientific Programme Committee.  Gaining insight into the organisation and delivery of educational meetings led me to launch the annual ‘Don’t Panic!’ conference which has since provided IPC education to around 5000 delegates. In 2015 I became Chair of Council. Working to different priorities, with much less organisational infrastructure than I was used to, opened me up to multiple new challenges and opportunities. I learned a huge amount, all of which supported and enhanced my NHS role. 

  • Are you involved in any HIS society committees, working parties or focus groups?

As the HIS President, I'm obviously busy with lots of HIS activities. My main interest has always been in designing and delivering IPC events and courses and I'm on the Professional Development Committee and closely involved in running the DIPC programme and 'Don't Panic!'. In addition, I am the overall convenor for the new Foundation Course/Trainee programme and am looking forward to developing new modules on the Learning Management System. I was on the working party for the guideline on 'Rituals and behaviours in the operating theatre' that has just been published.

  • Why is IPC an exciting field to work/study in?

 IPC is endlessly challenging and evolving field with lots of new developments, but there is still so much that we don't understand about concepts and practices that we take for granted. IPC impacts on every patient in every healthcare setting, from the home right through to the most specialised tertiary unit, and to the carers and healthcare staff delivering care, so it is essential that we get it right. If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that you should never take IPC for granted!

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