Hand-Washing Initiative Institutionalization: Reduction Of Hospital-Acquired Infections Free Writing Sample

Overview

I attended a change management training program entitled ‘Instituting a Hand-Washing Initiative: Increasing Compliance and Decreasing Infection Rate’ organized by a local community-based healthcare center in the month of March. The program targeted the healthcare providers, especially the on-site nurses and the general community healthcare mobilization team. Specifically, the purpose of the program was to provide the attendees so that they could apply this knowledge in handling patients. As a nurse, the activity enabled me to acquire vital information on how simple adherence to hand hygiene could substantially reduce infections when handling patients (Garus-Pakowska, Sobala, & Szatko, 2013). I learned that hand washing is an evidence-based practice with a vast amount of data on its impacts on the general healthcare provision environment.

Problem

The hand washing training was meant to address the challenge of avoidable infections in healthcare provision through improvement of hygiene. Specifically, the program highlighted the need for nurses to comply with hand hygiene before attending to a patient. According to the data presented at the training, there is a general low hand hygiene compliance rate among healthcare workers. The poor hygiene has increased the hospital-acquired patient infections. The C-diff spread raised concerns about poor compliance. Apparently, increased hospital-acquired infections have an impact on the cost of providing healthcare and general wellness of the patients (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013). Through participation in this activity, a nurse will be able to understand the value of hand hygiene to minimize the spread of hospital-acquired infections among patients.

Solution

The solution proposed was presented in the form of a change model consisting of six points as summarized below.

Step 1: Need for change assessment: Reduction of hospital-acquired infections currently on the rise.

Step 2: Linking the problem, intervention, and outcome: Compliance is a big issue in improving hand hygiene. Interventions should include performing audits, re-educating staff, and enforcing a disciplinary code (Garus-Pakowska et al., 2013).

Step 3: Best evidence synthesis: Data presented suggested that compliance with hand washing is severely lacking. Most HCW practice hand washing when the risks they are exposed to are perceived as high, and not necessarily to protect patients (Garus-Pakowska et al., 2013).

Step 4: Actual change design: The proposed hand hygiene initiative should adopt a multi-discipline approach to monitor compliance through frequent audits and extra nursing training programs.

Step 5: Integrating the hand hygiene practice: Performing an annual review of compliance competency in terms of the number of reported hospital-infections at the beginning and end of each year (Garus-Pakowska et al., 2013).

Opportunity

The hand hygiene activity is designed to capture best practices in the provision of healthcare through reduction of hospital-acquired infections. The best practices are made in the form of a policy that can be applied in any healthcare center. There are frameworks for monitoring its success and performing periodic audits (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013). As a nurse, this activity has given me a chance to understand the impact of hand hygiene on effective service delivery and avoidance of infections.

Program Competencies Addressed

The competencies addressed are healthcare improvement, compliance, and efficiency in service delivery in a holistic environment. These competencies are angled on quality improvement to facilitate proactive engagement between a nurse and a patient (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013). As part of the Healthy People 2020 index, this activity presents a research-based intervention for sustainable healthcare service provision (Garus-Pakowska et al., 2013).

References

Garus-Pakowska, A., Sobala, W., & Szatko, F. (2013). Observance of hand washing procedures performed by the medical personnel before patient contact. Part 1. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental HealtH, 26(1), 113-121.

Hockenberry, M., & Wilson, D. (2013). Wong’s nursing care of infants and children multimedia enhanced version (9th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Meeting Leadership Challenges: Action Plan

Exploring Leadership Opportunities

Being a leader is a challenging yet attainable goal. Although it used to be believed that being a leader requires a set of intrinsic abilities that are inherent and, therefore, cannot be trained, recent studies prove that the ability to lead, in fact, can be taught and developed. Thus, while I have certain qualities that will help me build a successful leadership approach, there are certain areas such as negotiation and conflict management that I will need to explore further.

Strengths in Leadership Situations

When considering the advantages that will help me become a leader, I must mention motivation as my major strength. I am not only highly motivated by the mission I pursue but also capable of inspiring others. In addition, I have the ability to set the priorities straight and assign specific goals and roles to people based on their abilities and skills. While seemingly simple, the specified task requires a significant amount of flexibility, as well as a proper understanding of the advantages and limitations of the participants involved in a project. As a result, the scheduling issues are addressed, the deadlines are met, and each of the team members remains engaged, being provided with the assignments that they not only can carry out but also enjoy doing.

Weaknesses and Their Effects

I must admit, though, that there are certain limitations to my leadership abilities currently. While the problem areas can be improved, they require a significant effort from me. For instance, I need to work on my ability to address conflicts successfully. There is no need to stress the fact that the ability to handle conflicts is a crucial skill that a leader must develop in order to manage relationships between the members of a team. While it would be wrong to claim that I cannot resolve conflicts, I still need to learn the ability to use them as the foundation for the team to learn essential information. For instance, when facing the need to address cross-cultural conflicts, I must use them as the starting point to help the participants to become culturally sensitive and develop the ability to engage in a multicultural dialogue successfully. Similarly, I may need to improve my negotiation skills so that a heavy emphasis could be placed on collaboration and compromise as opposed to avoidance of difficult topics.

Developing Leadership Capability

To confront my weaknesses and become a better leader, I will have to focus on training the capabilities that will allow me to manage workplace conflicts successfully and encourage people to develop the propensity toward the consistent learning. For this purpose, the enhancement of the capability of knowledge management will have to be considered a necessity. It is essential to gain the skills that will help teach staff members and promote the concept of lifelong learning as the foundation for their successful professional growth and the further multicultural communication with people from different backgrounds. The specified goal can be accomplished by using practice-based evidence as the foundation for the training process. By creating a system based on which the process of knowledge acquisition will occur in the team, I will be able to lead the team successfully.

Furthermore, as a leader, I will have to learn to solve complex problems. As stressed above, conflict management and negotiation are not by greatest assets. The specified problem occurs primarily because of my inability to address the issue of relationships and promote the necessity to meet the set objectives. Therefore, complex problem-solving skills will have to be acquired.

Getting the Priorities Straight

Specific Goal: Promoting Active Growth

As stressed above, it is essential for me as a leader to learn to encourage team members to focus on the active acquisition of new knowledge and skills, as well as their further use for handling conflicts in the workplace. Particularly, multicultural issues and the misconceptions that typically occur in the process of cross-cultural communication will have to be handled successfully. Therefore, the development of the leadership strategy that will compel the target demographics to engage in the active personal and professional growth, as well as recognize the significance of the lifelong learning process as the basis for gaining the required culture-related skills, will have to be regarded as a necessity.

Achieving the specified goal will require the reconsideration of leadership priorities and the design of a coherent action plan that will allow motivating the staff members. Particularly, it will be crucial to design the value system in which the needs of all stakeholders will be valued equally, including the ones of the employees. It will be essential to create the environment of mutual trust and the active promotion of reciprocal communication so that the needs of team members could be easily identified and met respectively.

Furthermore, the environment in which employees will feel inclined to develop the suggested learning skills must be provided. Training courses aimed at helping team members to gain the necessary competencies will have to be viewed as a necessity. Moreover, the employees will have to be provided with a chance to acquire metacognitive skills, i.e., the ability to deconstruct their learning process to enhance and improve it accordingly. As a result, a rapid increase in the performance of the team members is expected.

Intended Approach: Transformational Leadership

Seeing that the active promotion of lifelong learning will require a shift in the team members’ perception of their roles and responsibilities in the workplace, as well as a change in their idea of learning, it will be crucial to adopt the Transformational Leadership (TL) strategy. The framework implies improving the results delivered by the team by creating the environment in which they will be motivated to excel in their performance. Furthermore, the approach suggests that a set of ethical standards and values must be established to make the decision-making process more coherent and successful.

The application of TL will also help manage some of the obstacles that are likely to emerge once the new demands are set in the workplace. Particularly, the problem of reluctance among employees will have to be listed among the crucial challenges that will have to be addressed. With the application of the TL framework, I will be able to provide the staff members with a role model that they will follow to meet the set expectations and deliver the results of the required quality.

It is essential that the use of the TL strategy will also contribute to my personal and professional development. Since the tool implies providing employees with a role model whose example they will follow, TL will motivate me to acquire the necessary skills and improve my performance. Thus, a gradual improvement of project outcomes, communication processes, management issues, and other aspects of an organization’s functioning in any business setting will become a possibility.

Community Health Assessment: Obtaining Data

Type of Data

A community health assessment can be conducted using different types of data. Primary data is needed to obtain first-hand information that is not biased by the perception of other people. It can be gathered with the help of observations and interviews. Secondary data can be advantageous as well (Brownson, Baker, Deshpande, & Gillespie, 2017). It is already analyzed by professionals and can be found in articles, and reports, etc. All in all, such data should reveal information that is significant for the enhancement of the community’s quality of life. It may be associated with social and cultural structures, access to health services, and other resources available for the population.

Determination of the Health Care Needs

When a researcher obtains data needed for a community health assessment, he/she identifies what is needed by the population and what is available. Identifying this gap, a professional manages to reveal the healthcare needs of both individuals and the whole community. Thus, it is possible to use the obtained information to develop health-related initiatives that are expected to cause an improvement in the current situation in the future. Focusing on ideal and actual data, a researcher makes it easier to understand the resources needed by the community.

Strategy for Obtaining the Necessary Data

To obtain the needed information, the targeted population should be sampled. In this way, it will be possible to make it a representation of the whole. It is possible to gather the focus groups that consist of 5-10 individuals and select a moderator who will gather all the needed information so that it can be used in the study. A moderator will control group activities, ensuring that all key issues are addressed. In addition to that, it is possible to collect data using community forums. This option is rather advantageous because people gather at forums to discuss health needs, which makes them willing to share this information with a researcher (Morris et al., 2014). Finally, surveys can be conducted. The targeted population is expected to answer a set of questions.

Factors that Impact the Health and Wellness of a Community

Numerous factors affect the well-being of a community. For instance, the social-demographic characteristics of the population influence its health risks and access to healthcare services. The age of individuals from the community, people who have good access to needed resources, the number of persons with a high level of education, the unemployment rate, etc. The health status of society also matters. It deals with the rates of infant mortality, unnatural causes of death, adolescent pregnancies, etc. Health risk factors, such as vaccination and obesity, may be associated with numerous health problems.

Ways to Obtain Information

Required information will be obtained using qualitative research methods, such as questionnaires or literature review. It can be advantageous to consider the history of the community health because it can reveal vital tendencies associated with the improvement of health status or the development of new issues. Quantitative approaches can be useful as well. In particular, they can make it possible to compare the effects of different community programs on health. In addition to that, they can reveal the community’s attitudes regarding some issues.

Validity and Reliability

It is vital to ensure that the data used in the research study is valid and reliable (Meeker & Escobar, 2014). Dependency and consistency of data can be revealed with the help of the reliability coefficient. For instance, with the help of test-retest reliability, a researcher can state how stable measured elements are. The alternate form reliability can make it possible to see if the same results can be obtained with the help of other tests. Criterion-related validation will be used to reveal statistical relations between variables. Content-related validation is needed to prove that the provided information is representative of the targeted community.

References

Brownson, R. C., Baker, E. A., Deshpande, A. D., & Gillespie, K. N. (2017). Evidence-based public health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Meeker, W. Q., & Escobar, L. A. (2014). Statistical methods for reliability data. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Morris, J. N., Howard, E. P., Fries, B. E., Berkowitz, R., Goldman, B., & David, D. (2014). Using the community health assessment to screen for continued driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 63, 104-110.