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Mapping microbial stories: Creative microbial aesthetic andcross‐disciplinary intervention in understanding nurses’ infection prevention practices

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlotte Veal



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Consistent implementation of hand‐washing within the hospital environmentremains a challenge in infection prevention (IP) procedures. IP is one of a numberof measures to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A cross‐disciplinary teamwas assembled to experiment with different ways of visualising the microbial. Thepaper details a comparative experimental design where nurses (n = 2) performeda series of routine care procedures in a mock‐ward setting where traces ofcoloured ultra‐violet glow‐powders had been purposely placed, first with routinehand‐washing and second without routine hand‐washing. The results presented asa series of photos, video‐clips, ethnographic observations and nurse interviewsexplore nurse–microbial relations and the potential for affective and embodiedencounters with microbial worlds to generate new insight in IP. We argue for creatingunfamiliar aesthetics that engage the sensate as an intervention in establishedIP education. The aesthetic rendered invisible microbes visible through technoartisticpractice. The performance term “devising” was used to analyse the crossdisciplinarymethodological process. Finally, we consider the potential for nursesto act as microbial citizens as they extend their care for the human to entail theneed to care for the microbial, perhaps not to kill but to relocate the risky pathogen,as part of a commitment to multispecies living in a world with AMR.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roe E, Veal C, Hurley P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geo: Geography and Environment

Year: 2019

Volume: 6

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 15/04/2019

Acceptance date: 05/03/2019

Date deposited: 28/05/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2054-4049

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/geo2.76


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