To be mindful of preventing the spread of infection, embrace change in procedures with an open mind when it is for the greater good.
I’m an infectious disease specialist, whose research focuses on reducing pathogen transmission in the healthcare setting. Here are my top tips for how you can be more mindful about infection prevention:
1.) Be kind.
Wish a “Happy New Year” to the environmental care associate cleaning your patient’s room to help prevent infection, and a thank you to the physical therapist looking after your patients mobility.
2.) Recognize and respect others expertise.
You do not know, and are not expected to know, everything. Every unit has an infection preventionist – call them for advice
3.) Be the early adopter. Embrace change when it’s for the better.
4.) Walk the Talk
Your leadership is an example to medical students and others. Do the right thing. Perform hand hygiene, use gowns and gloves, and order tests judiciously and appropriately.
5.) Be open minded and embrace a growth mindset.
Don’t be limited by a fixed mindset. Don’t tune out critical feedback that could help improve your patient care. We aren’t static. Don’t be so arrogant to think that you can’t improve.
6.) Be brave.
When the first, or most senior, of a physician group entering a patient room does not perform hand hygiene, nobody else does either. Don’t be a blind follower, show your moral courage – you know what is right.
Remember to say, “nice job,” to a medical student who appropriately de-escalates an antibiotic, performs hand hygiene, or is thoughtful about C. diff testing. Observe their response to your praise. You have an influence to use for the good.
Finally, think more broadly than just your patient. Take a moment, pause, think like a physician epidemiologist/steward before you prescribe those antibiotics. Your actions have wider consequences for the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
When all else fails, if you are doing the best for the patient you are very likely making the best decision.
Follow me on Twitter @ClareRock1