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Healthcare Essay: Role of Leadership in Infection Control


Task: Infection Control Scenario: You are working in an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Department that has a reputation for being 'a difficult culture'. Staff does not seem to stay long, and those that do, have a reputation for being overly critical towards new people. This department has had difficulty recruiting senior experienced IPC staff, and management have recently decided to second staff from elsewhere in the organization. Over the past two months errors and increasing reports of bullying between staff have started to become a trend. Sick leave rates for staff are double the benchmark average. The management team that has been there for the past 10 years are transitioning to retirement over the next 18 months. The CNC covers more than one unit. It is influenza vaccination season and the campaign for staff Fluvax should be launching now but it has not yet commenced.

Read the above case scenario and write a healthcare essay examining the scenario for potential issues that could be linked to leadership practices or organizational governance issues (i.e. escalation, policy/procedure issues, and risk management).


Critical Analysis

The concept of leadership explored in this healthcare essay refers to the ability of an individual or group to guide the followers or juniors in employment set up to achieve particular goals. It involves making sound mind decisions and articulating clear visions of the organization. Visionary leaders impart knowledge to the juniors and ensure that they have the necessary tools to achieve their set objectives. In addition, a good leader should embrace diversification and discourage issues that create discrimination and biasness in an employment setup (Dugan, 2017). Some of the notable features that a good leader should possess include self-confidence, strong management and communication skills, and perseverance. A leader should also be creative and innovative as well as being a risk-taker (Allen, 2018). In the infection control scenario provided, the department is reported to have a reputation for being a difficult culture. The employees in the organization do not stay long, and those who happen to stay for long have the habit of criticizing the new staff. In addition, it is on record that the department faced difficulty in recruiting senior experienced IPC staff. For this reason, the management opted to second staff from elsewhere in the organization. Errors and high cases of bullying have also been reported among the employees.Additionally,the sick leave among the employees in the organization is also on the rise compared to the previous years. Furthermore, the team responsible for management for the last ten years is on the verge of retiring. This paper analyzes how these issues are linked to leadership practices and organizational governance.

Factors affecting the workplace and delivery of safe, quality care practices
The issue of employees leaving the organization impacts the consumers, patients, and other stakeholders that rely on the organization's services. The reasons that may cause burnout in the organization are the frustrations between the workers and the management. Lack of motivation among the employees in terms of salary increment and payment on time may discourage the employees from staying in their place of work (Choi et al., 2019). Inadequate staff in a working environment, more so in the health sector, lowers the production rate. It also denies the consumers the opportunity to access the much-needed services at the right time.Patients’ dissatisfaction is likely to be realized if the employees are leaving the department; this is because they will have to wait for a longer duration to receive services that they could easily get when there is adequate staffing. Other stakeholders like the employees are also affected significantly when their colleagues resign from their positions because the number of patients they are attending to will increase and the working hours.

Additionally, conflicts among the employees affect the performance of the organization to a significant extent. From the infection control scenario, it is evident that the old staffsthat remain at the department have the reputation of being overly critical against the new employees. Whenever there is conflict among the employees, the teamwork is lost, leading to work disruption and reduced productivity(Kay&Skarlicki, 2020). Lack of unity can as well lead to the failure of the entire project. If the conflict among the employees is not handled correctly, the organization becomes the first victim because its goals and objectives become compromised(Baillien et al., 2017). The consumer is also affected by conflicts among the employees because of their right to get the right services. Patients are not able to get treatment on time due to the conflicts that exist among the employees. Poor performance from the department will affect other stakeholders because the organization's reputation will be in question. In this case, a strong leader who can unite the organization and train the employees on unity and diversification is necessary.

The department had difficulty finding an experienced staff of IPC, which prompted thehuman resource personnel to second staff from elsewhere in the organization. This is a clear indication that the department does not have a clear mentorship plan. An organization that intends to achieve the set goals should train and mentor the employees and encourage the promotion of workers from one stage to another. Employee’s promotions are some of the motivational methods that organizations should apply to encourage productivity. When a staff is recruited from the other department, conflicts arise, and some employees get demoralized to perform their activities (Veleva&Antonova, 2017). The effect of demoralized employees can be felt in the reduction of the production level. When the production level is low, the consumers, patients and other stakeholders are all affected. The consumerscannot get the required services to their satisfaction when the production in the department is compromised.

Furthermore, the number of individuals going for sick leave in the organization has increased. Whether sick leave is legitimate or non-legitimate, it hurts the business, consumers, and patients that rely on the department. With the rising cases of sick leave, the production level will be low, which has a significant effect on the business (Solem et al., 2016). Finally, the management team responsible for the organization's activities is transitioning to retirement in a few months. This will affect the service delivery in the organization due to inadequate human labor.

Based on the department's challenges, the functional perspective of leadership is necessary to find permanent solutions to the problems. Functional perspective majorly dwells on the role and activities that the leader performs. It contains multiple roles, which include both the management and the leadership roles. This perspective explains that a good leader must ensure there is proper communication within the organization (Kukenberger et al., 2019). The leader also has the role of ensuring that the employees are motivated to improve their productivity. In addition, a good leader is obliged to define the objectives and direction and display the organization's moral commitments. The management role in this perspective revolves around administrative management, which deals with the planning, budgeting and evaluation of the organization’s progress. It is also concerned with professional-oriented management, which handles issues related to the delegation of roles. Additionally, it tackles matters related to personnel management which covers human relations and human resources. This docket is responsible for the hiring, firing as well as the training of the employees. Lastly, the management department in this perspective focuses on strategic management, which involves the development of value, vision, missions and objectives of the organizations (Chen, 2018). The department can focus on this leadership perspective to create unity within the organization and steer the employees towards attaining the set goals.

Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on the infection control scenario, it is evident that the department is facing numerous challenges that hinder service delivery to the customers, patients, and other stakeholders who rely on the department. The differences between the old and the new staff are likely to affect the productivity rate of the organization. Bullying has become rampant, and this contributes to mental stress on the victims. Cases of sick leave are also on the rise and are likely to delay the delivery of services to the patients. Additionally, some staff is on the verge of going for retirement; this would leave the department with a shortage of personnel. The department has to address these issues to ensure that the department remains functional and provide the necessary services to the respected customers, patients and stakeholders. Training and mentorships are highly needed for the existing employees to equip them with the relevant skills needed in operation. This would reduce the cases of outsourcing of personnel, as witnessed in this case. The department should also set rules and regulation that guides the rights of employees. This would reduce cases of bullying that exist in the department. Additionally, the department should develop strategies for motivating the employees; this may include salary increments and offering medical cover to them. When employees are motivated, the production rate tends to increase.

Furthermore, the department should create awareness among the staff to embrace diversification and respect one another's opinions. When they do this, cases of criticism within the department will reduce to a significant extent. The organization should also describe the channel of communication to enable the employees to direct their grievances; this would reduce cases of burnout in the organization since most of the problems would be solved. The human resource department should consider diversity while hiring employees; the process should also be transparent to ensure that people are employed based on the qualification but no favoritism. When the organization employs people regularly, fear of inadequate personnel will not occur when some employees go on retirement.

Allen, W. E. (2018). Leadership Theory: A Different Conceptual Approach. Journal of Leadership Education, 17(2).

Baillien, E., Escartín, J., Gross, C., & Zapf, D. (2017).Towards a conceptual and empirical differentiation between workplace bullying and interpersonal conflict. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(6), 870-881.

Chen, S. (2018). Influence of functional and relational perspectives of distributed leadership on instructional change and school climate. The Elementary School Journal, 119(2), 298-326.

Choi, H. M., Mohammad, A. A., & Kim, W. G. (2019).Understanding hotel frontline employees’ emotional intelligence, emotional labor, job stress, coping strategies and burnout. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 82, 199-208.

Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory: Cultivating critical perspectives. John Wiley & Sons.

Kay, A. A., &Skarlicki, D. P. (2020).Cultivating a conflict-positive workplace: How mindfulness facilitates constructive conflict management. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 159, 8-20.

Kukenberger, M. R., D’Innocenzo, L., & Shin, N. J. (2019).A Social and Functional Perspective of Team Leadership Networks.In Social Networks at Work (pp. 333-361).Routledge.

Solem, P. E., Syse, A., Furunes, T., Mykletun, R. J., De Lange, A., Schaufeli, W., &Ilmarinen, J. (2016). To leave or not to leave: retirement intentions and retirement behaviour. Ageing & Society, 36(2), 259-281.

Veleva, M., &Antonova, K. (2017).Challenges of Applying Contemporary Approaches to Hiring New Employees in Dynamic Business Environment. Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists-Varna. Economic Sciences Series, (1), 140-147.


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