Archive for: Sterile Matters
Stretch goals, a new trendy phrase, have a lot merit, in my opinion.
Goals are sometimes too lofty, but in today’s challenging times within healthcare, we need a new way to concourse tough circumstances. Stretch goals just might be part of the answer.
All too often we either do not set our goals high enough, or they are set in a way to not ever be truly attainable.
Stretch goals are different and very relevant outside of the traditional business world. With healthcare currently mired in challenging circumstances, new types of goals and how we approach them is needed. They can help to combat the lack of tangible resources for less obvious skills deficits from people in critical roles and anything that can be imagined in-between these two that are plaguing our facilities.
You might be asking yourself just what stretch goals are and how you can create them?
Simply, they are goals that push a person (or an organization) to move beyond their comfort zone, but not so far that they become impossible to reach. Too often many want to either coast through the day or achieve the near impossible.
To secure great results, overall, lots of smaller successes are usually needed. It is then that a person or a group has a good foundation to build toward arger and more rewarding outcomes and wins.
Remember, creating a workplace, designing a ultimate endpoint, doesn’t happen instantly. The more individual pieces of the whole that begin to align, through stretching slightly past your comfort level, the more you are augmenting your skills and becoming a better asset to your organization. That is exactly when real successes become possible.
Healthcare entities are complex entities. They are comprised of numerous departments that can be dependent on another. This requires a unique approach to its operational execution. It requires management to help ensure business is conducted in fashion that ensures all of its interdependent units are working well both independently and jointly. It requires “systems thinking.”
Often departments, especially more technical in nature, tend to work in near isolation. This causes several concerns:
Talent selection is difficult for most managers. It is an extremely important when the employed talent has the ability to cause harm to another by the quality, or lack of it, of their work. Sometimes the right fit for an organization or a particular department is not known until the employee has been apart of the team for a bit of time. Regardless, when the fit does not work or no longer works the situation must be handled. However, handling it can be tricky, but not impossible.
While there are multiple types of employees of poor or under performers, we are going to discuss just two: the wrong new hire and the once productive and now under/poor performer. Before you sever ties consider your circumstances and evaluate your options:
- For the new hire, was your orientation program robust enough? Did you have the right type of training matched to your new hire? Was their role clearly defined and initial expected tasks expressed well? If not, is there time and internal skill to re-group and begin the process of orientation over?
- For your seasoned member, what other factors could be contributing to their decreased performance? Have you objectively discussed the work performance change with this associate?
Have you documented your coaching and counseling sessions which should include three points:
- What the issue is?
- What is the expectation?
- Guidance for success.
Without these three elements, it really cannot be considered a coaching or counseling session.
There will be potentially many reasons as to why a technician may be under performing. Getting to the root of the issue is important. While it may not completely solve the issue, it is a good first start. Once you know why, it becomes a bit easy to try to overcome. However, if no attempts work, counseling and coaching remain ineffective, and then it might be important to consider alternatives.
Patients deserve the best care and this includes maintaining competent staff members that support direct patient care. Without it our patients really are not getting the best service possible.
In my last Sterile Matters I discussed the necessities of training. For this post, I am focusing on developing training tools.
Creating tools for training may initially seem like a daunting task for some. However, I have a few suggestions that might help to make the process a bit easier for you.
Some considerations to keep in mind before you begin to develop your tools:
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, have discovered that by using personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically gloves, workers can help eliminate hospital acquired infections while handling patients infected with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).
Of the topics that we could discuss for “Sterile Matter,” training might just be one of the most important to highlight. Training is different than education. For this month, I would like to focus on the necessities of training for a few reasons:
There have been many reports of healthcare facilities having to notify patients to get tested for diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV because potentially contaminated devices used in procedures. Many times these incidents involve endoscopes.
We all know the basics, from no re-capping of needles to using puncture proof/sharps approved biohazard disposal boxes. However, what about all of the other ways healthcare workers become stuck, punctured, cut, and otherwise exposed to used sharps?
It happens and it can happen to you or your workers.
Preventing needle sticks and other types of sharps injuries begins with the basics and a few reminders:
Every day healthcare workers have the potential of becoming exposed to chemical vapors. Depending on the type of chemical, concentration, ventilation, length of exposure, and task affects the severity of risk and/or injury to the workers, patients, visitors or yourself. This is nothing to take lightly.
Sterile matters: A little more of this or that does not really help you, even if you think it smells cleaner
The saying “more isn’t always better” is true in the case of detergents and disinfectants. Cleaning solutions are not all the same. They have different purposes and require different application techniques. Failure to follow the exact manufacturers’ instructions not only potentially reduces the efficacy of the solution, but it also may be harmful.
The word “contamination” can be misleading for anyone not specifically trained in “sterile processing.” If something does not look grossly soiled after use on a patient, proper techniques can go by the wayside. This places the worker and the next patient in potential harm’s way.