Matthew (Matt) Mason MACN is a lecturer in nursing on the Sunshine Coast and one of the key infection prevention and control specialists within our ACN Tribe. We caught up with Matt to discuss his nursing career in this field and his advice for nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My experience in infection prevention and control started in remote settings,” he says.
“My interest in the area focuses on community and remote spaces outside the hospital setting. I adapt evidence — a lot of which comes from large tertiary hospitals — into these other areas of practice. In my current role, I focus on integrating good infection prevention and control practices into our courses and also conduct research to improve safety for patients and staff.”
This experience in infection prevention and control has seen Matt work across many parts of rural and remote Australia in areas such as Thursday Island, Central Australia and Rural Victoria.
His expertise is also recognised internationally through his role as a Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
“If a country has an outbreak of an infectious disease, they can call on the WHO to provide support,” he explains.
“I help members of the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control, which is a partner of GOARN, respond to requests for assistance to different outbreaks across the world.”
Currently, Matt works as a Lecturer in Nursing at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
“In the role, I am involved in the delivery of both our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, particularly for the nursing discipline,” he says.
“I am also the program coordinator for nursing which means I look after the quality of the program overall, including student enquiries, promotions and all things to do with the running of our program.”
Matt and his team have two main priorities to help adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first and most important is the safety of the students and staff,” he says.
“The next is the quality of the education that we are delivering. We are trying to keep it to the same standard we normally would under very different circumstances.”
When asked to provide a message to those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt stressed the importance of accessing trusted information.
“They should be very wary about where they get their information from,” he says.
“There is a lot of information out there, particularly surrounding procedures and personal protective equipment. My advice for people working on the frontline is to make sure they are getting the advice from a trusted source and that they follow their facility guidelines because those are there to keep them safe.”
He also highlighted the need to capitalize on the spotlight placed on nursing during the pandemic and use it to improve the visibility of nursing in the broader community.
“One of the things COVID-19 has shown is a lot of decisions about health care are made without nursing input,” he says.
“Given we are the largest health care profession globally we need to stand up. I encourage those reading this article to take the opportunities that come to them to highlight what nurses do. “