The amusing anecdote offered at the beginning of Noel Kelsch’s article, “The Little Red Hen” provides valuable insight into the nature of many clinicians, and sheds light on an important aspect of teamwork and its importance to the overall control of infection in the workplace.  While the little hen in the story illustrates the silent suffering many in the health care field experience, pecking away at her work hoping someone will come along and notice her valiant effort and offer to step in and help, the hen illustrates even clearer the inability many experience in not merely asking for help, but demanding teamwork from their coworkers and themselves.  The result is not just a burned-out little worker, but as this situation is applied to a clinical setting, a lack of continuity and teamwork in infection control can be devastating.
One of the more important facets of this article is how Kelsch imparts the idea that the “solo” approach to infection control actually does a disservice to the clinical setting as a whole, both staff and environment.  While the work may get done, the lack of the entire team being on board, not only with the procedures required to maintain high quality infection control but also the attitude of being a part of an essential process within the clinical setting is a major detriment with serious ramifications.  Using the example of setting up a rotational system where each staff person takes responsibility for one area of infection control procedures, thoroughly invests in it, and then moves on to another area after a month, so that all can see and appreciate what quality control procedures look and feel like, is an excellent model for a clinical setting.
In addition to the burnout one experiences by “henning it alone,” the more important issue of infection control is compromised by not involving all members of the staff.  Kelsch is absolutely right when she says, “There is just no way one person can cover all the bases.”   However, the consequences of failure in infection control versus pecking a seed into a loaf of bread are far more dire, and should be taken far more seriously.
Reference:
Kelsch, Noel. (July 28, 2008).  The Little Red Hen.  RDH Magazine.  Retrieved on December 15, 2008, from http://www.rdhmag.com/display_article/335428/56/none/none/Colum/The-Little-Red-Hen

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