My job

Deputy director infection prevention and control

Author of a forthcoming matrons' handbook Annesha Archyangelio on why she went into nursing

Author of a forthcoming matrons' handbook Annesha Archyangelio on why she went into nursing


What is your job?

I am deputy director infection prevention and control (IPC) at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and an NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) professional leadership nursing fellow.

My role at NHSE and NHSI involves supporting the nursing directorate to develop and implement national leadership and education development programmes. This includes writing a national development handbook for matrons.

My role at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust involves ensuring that an annual work programme is developed and implemented based on the Department of Health's code of practice on prevention and control of infections, the hygiene code, which provides assurance that the trust is performing well within the national trajectories for IPC. This in turn demonstrates that the trust provides a clean and safe environment, and ensures that IPC is everyone’s business, as evidenced by reduced healthcare associated infections (HCAIs).

What are your main responsibilities?

As part of my leadership role I am involved in the development of a national matrons' handbook, which includes material on black, Asian and minority (BAME) staff development to aid career progression. The aim of the handbook is to benefit patients and carers by ensuring matrons have the core skills to deliver outstanding, high-quality care.

I am also responsible for reducing HCAIs in my trust through collaborative working in my role as a deputy director at West Hertfordshire Hospital.

Why did you become a nurse?

From an early age I saw nursing as a caring career path, and one in which I could succeed without too much financial stress and burden. I graduated as a registered general nurse in Jamaica, where I received a trophy for the highest academic progression in my class. I always endeavoured to develop myself as a knowledgeable and experienced nurse, and I have an innate drive to work hard and do my best.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the flexibility of working in professional leadership at NHSE and NHSI. On one day I may be visiting a trust to discuss leadership development and engagement on development of the matrons' handbook; on another I could be running a conference or sharing learning and successes on an away day with the chief nursing officer for England’s team.

At the hospital, I enjoy chairing meetings to monitor improvement in IPC, and delivering training and developing trust staff to ensure a clean and safe environment. I enjoy visiting the clinical environment to check on practices at point of care, reviewing the environmental infrastructure and speaking to staff, as well as catching up regularly with the senior team.

How and where have you developed leadership skills?

I have always made sure I undertake theoretical training in my area of work. I broadened my knowledge and experience by completing with distinction a bachelor’s degree in health and nursing studies. After this, I also completed a master of science degree in IPC and another in leadership and management. I have also undertaken a number of leadership programmes and training in, for example, project management and research.

What achievement makes your most proud?

Being presented with a Mary Seacole Award made me proud, and I feel privileged to be working at NHSI and NHSE to develop the national matrons' handbook.

I am especially proud of having had the honour of interviewing chief nursing officer for England Ruth May about her view on the matron’s role. I am also proud to be completing my doctoral degree in public health this year.

What makes a good nurse leader?

Taking pride in the job, and being supportive and kind – all qualities we find in the nursing profession. It is also important to connect with colleagues, network and share learning. 

What advice would you pass on to students and junior staff?

There are lots of career paths in nursing, and there is an option for everyone, and I urge them to speak to staff who have navigated the path before. There are many programmes designed to ensure the path is easier for the younger generation – you can progress from a healthcare support worker to a chief executive if that is your choice of career.

What is your greatest challenge?

My main challenge has been in gaining the opportunity to use my skills in practice and in delivering general nursing projects. I am thankful to my trust and NHSI for giving me the opportunities to work with matrons on this national project, which is going well.

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