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Health Sciences

Dr Jacqui Prieto PhD, RN, BSc(Hons), BSc, PCAP

Associate Clinical Professor, Infection Prevention

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Dr Jacqui Prieto has a joint appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Her academic and clinical work focuses on implementing, embedding and sustaining evidence-informed infection prevention practice, with a particular emphasis on reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infection. Jacqui is a NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse Research Leader (2019-22), providing leadership to strengthen the nursing and midwifery contribution to research in NHS organisations.

Why are hygiene behaviours so difficult to optimise in healthcare? We need to understand and address this to prevent avoidable infections.

Jacqui graduated as a registered nurse with First Class Honours from the University of Surrey, UK in 1990. Her clinical career in the specialist field of infection prevention spans three decades, working in the UK in Brighton, London and Southampton. She has always combined her clinical and academic work; having completed her PhD in 2004 she was awarded a Senior Clinical Academic Research Fellowship in 2008 and pioneered a new joint appointment as a clinical nurse specialist and post-doctoral research fellow. In 2013 she was awarded a HEFCE/NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship, gaining a tenured position as Associate Clinical Professor in 2014. Her research aims to improve the implementation of evidence-informed infection prevention practice in healthcare to reduce avoidable infections.

Personal awards

2019-22: Senior Nurse Leader for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) 70@70 Programme

2013-18: HEFCE/NIHR CNO Senior Clinical Lectureship

2008-13: NHS Education South Central Clinical Academic Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

2002-03: Smith and Nephew Foundation Doctoral Nursing Research Fellowship

1996-2001: South Thames Regional Health Authority PhD Studentship (part-time)

Research interests

Jacqui’s research and clinical work focuses on how we can optimise hygiene behaviours in healthcare. It encompasses all aspects of infection prevention practice including hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment, management of invasive medical devices (e.g. urinary catheters), care of patients with infectious conditions and the patient’s experience of healthcare-associated infection.

Jacqui has a particular interest in preventing urinary tract infection and leads a programme of research and improvement work across hospital and community care settings to understand how patient pathways can be improved. This includes reducing the use of indwelling urinary catheters to avoid urinary tract infection.

PhD Supervision

To date, Jacqui has supervised 7 Doctoral students (4 to completion; 3 current) and 6 Masters’ students (5 MSc and 1 MRes) to completion. She has examined 8 doctoral theses (5 external candidates; 3 internal candidates).

Primary supervisor (current):

Camilla Bennett (PhD transfer completed)

Urine output: how and why is it monitored in acute medical environments?

Amelia Heelan (PhD transfer completed)

A feasibility study to determine the acceptability and feasibility of finger foods, a nutritional support intervention, for patients after stroke in hospital: A mixed method approach.

Victoria Payne (PhD transfer completed)

An investigation into the implementation of a complex intervention to reduce late-onset sepsis in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Primary supervisor (completed):

Donna Austin, PhD (completed 2020)

Children and young people’s experience of source and protective isolation while in hospital.

Matsikachando Moyo, PhD (completed 2019)

How do doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants in the acute medical unit look after patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting?

Catherine Murphy, PhD (completed 2014)

Why do clinicians place indwelling urinary catheters with patients in acute medical care?

Janice Westbury, DClinP (completed 2012)

An exploration of consultant doctors’ hand hygiene: practice and perspectives.

PhD research

Prieto JA. Influencing Infection Control Practice:  assessing the Impact of a Supportive Intervention for Nurses. PhD Thesis, 2003, University of Southampton.

Supervisor: Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark


1996-2001: South Thames Regional Health Authority PhD Studentship (part-time)

2002-03: Smith and Nephew Foundation Doctoral Nursing Research Fellowship

Research group

Bladder and Bowel

Research theme

Fundamental Care

Current research projects

StOP UTI’ - Strategies for Older People living in care homes to prevent Urinary Tract Infection: a realist synthesis of the evidence (£239k)

This study, funded by the NIHR HTA Programme, seeks to develop an explanatory understanding of programmes designed to prevent and recognise urinary tract infection in older people living in care homes so that we know what it is about interventions that supports their successful implementation. (Chief investigator).

NIHR Journals Library

Review registered on PROSPERO


Preventing non-ventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia: the PRHAPs Study (£66k)

The purpose of this study is to develop a prognostic screening model that can be easily used by clinical staff to identify, on admission, patients at risk of non-ventilator hospital acquired pneumonia and trigger interventions to prevent pneumonia, reduce antimicrobial prescribing and reduce length of stay. (Co-investigator).


Development and clinical trial of a mixed (multi/single-use) catheter management package for users of intermittent catheters (£2M)

The aim of this research study is to find out whether using a mixture of re-usable catheters and single-use catheters is as safe and acceptable for intermittent catheterisation as using only single use catheters. (Co-investigator).


Recent research projects

Community catheter management study (£20k)

This study, funded by the Infection Prevention Society, investigated the prevalence of indwelling urinary catheters on district nursing caseloads in the UK. (Co-investigator).


NAMRIP/EPSRC pump priming award –‘Mapping Microbes’ (£20k)

This project addressed the question of how nurses think, act and respond in situations where there is a risk of spreading infection. (Co-investigator).


NAMRIP/EPSRC pump priming award - A pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of ‘Starstream’ technology for surgical hand disinfection (£20k)

The aim of this pilot study was to investigate whether ‘Starstream’ technology is as effective as standard antiseptic agents for surgical hand disinfection. (Co-investigator).


The Patient Experience of the MRSA Screening Process and the Impact of an MRSA-Positive Result (£65k)

The aim of this research study was to report to the Department of Health Policy Research Programme on the impact of the Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening process on the patient experience.  (Co-investigator).


Evaluation of the use of a patient held record (PHR) by patients with MRSA in south west Hampshire (£50k)

This research study and service evaluation, funded by a local NHS provider trust, examined the impact of a patient-held record on the quality of care of patients with Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). (Chief investigator).

Research project(s)

A realist synthesis of evidence on the effectiveness of interventions that aim to prevent urinary tract infection among older people living in care homes (StOP UTI)

Significant roles and membership:

2018-21: Deputy Editor of the Journal of Infection Prevention

2016-18: Elected as Board Member of the Infection Prevention Society (UK)

2017: Selected to join the Health Foundation Q Community

2013: Professional advisor to review team for revision of the Department of Health National Guidelines for the Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England (‘epic 3')

2011: Invited member of the Topic Expert Group convened to advise the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the development of a guideline on the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections  

2004-08: Chair, Research and Development Committee, Infection Prevention Society

Member of the Infection Prevention Society, UK

Member of the Royal College of Nursing, UK

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Book Chapters

  • Fader, M., DeLaine, C., Norton, C., & Prieto, J. (2012). Managing continence. In I. Bullock, J. Macleod Clark, & J. Rycroft-Malone (Eds.), Adult Nursing Practice. Using Evidence in Care Oxford University Press.
  • Prieto, J., & Kiernan, M. (2012). Managing infection. In I. Bullock, J. Macleod Clark, & J. Rycroft-Malone (Eds.), Adult Nursing Practice. Using Evidence in Care Oxford University Press.
  • Prieto, J., & Kilpatrick, C. (2011). Infection prevention and control. In C. Brooker, & M. Nicol (Eds.), Alexander's Nursing Practice. 4th ed Churchill Livingstone.
  • McCulloch, J., & Prieto, J. (2008). Health protection and the role of the public health nurse. In Public Health Skills: A Practical Guide for Nurses and Public Health Practitioners (pp. 155-169). Blackwell.




Working Papers

Main areas of teaching

  • Applied microbiology and infection prevention
  • Research methods and implementing evidence-based practice
  • Clinical academic careers

Jacqui is a clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Her clinical leadership role focuses on:

  • Improving the care pathway across acute and community care for patients with an indwelling urinary catheter.
  • Optimising the care and management of urinary catheters including minimising initial use through better uptake of alternative options, prompt removal of short-term catheters and improved patient experience.
  • Leading the research agenda for infection prevention, including delivery of funded research studies as chief investigator, co-investigator and principal investigator.
  • Facilitating nurses and allied health professionals to engage in research and quality improvement, including undertaking clinical audit, service improvements and research, applying for higher degrees and clinical academic fellowships, and disseminating their work nationally and internationally.
  • Strengthening the research voice, influence and culture among frontline nurses and midwives to increase capability, capacity and engagement in research.

NHS outcomes have included:

  • Hospital-wide decrease in the inappropriate use of urinary catheters.
  • Introduction of the hospital-wide use of portable bladder ultrasound scanners, yielding substantial benefits for patients and cost savings in excess of £130k per annum, as evaluated by a comprehensive economic assessment.
  • Winning the Health Service Journal National Patient Safety Award in 2013 for programme of work to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection in acute care.
Dr Jacqui Prieto
Health Sciences Student Office University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : SGH//MP11

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