The article entitled “Expanding infection preventionists’ influence in the 21st Century:
Looking back to move forward” in the December issue of American Journal of Infection
Control (AJIC) describes the three essential skills an IP should possess in order to be
effective in the 21st century.
The article highlights the challenges today’s IPs face in health care organizations as their role expands to issues beyond traditional infection control, such as in antimicrobial stewardship, facility design, patient outcome improvements, and more.
Self-knowledge, strategic relationships, and reciprocity are the three essential skills IPs need to master in order to be effective in their organizations.
Self-knowledge is the ability to understand one’s own strengths and weaknesses and knowing how and when to apply one’s capabilities.
Strategic relationships are those relationships the IPs rely on to make things happen. Few IPs have real power but they do have access to key decision makers. Successful IPs need to learn to build and leverage key relationships to get things done.
Reciprocity is the idea that one must give to receive and is considered by some as themost successful approach to daily decisions because it demonstrates a willingness to becooperative. It is important for an IP not to be perceived as asking for resources and support;
instead, IPs should seek common ground with others, offer assistance and compromise
The last piece of advice in the article is that “IPs should take every opportunity to reach out, introduce themselves, describe their roles and responsibilities, communicate effectively, and provide information pertinent to those they seek to influence. Such people include administrators, nurses, physicians, patient safety officers, performance improvement teams, colleagues, peers, policy makers, or others.” Only after an IP has proven their value and credibility can she or he begin to fully utilize the above mentioned skills.