Infection Control "Committee"

  1. I am almost a year old nurse. I wanted to get more involved with the committees and groups at the hospital. Frankly I don't like my job and was hoping that becoming more involved would help me feel I was having some say in what was occurring. I recently got asked if I wanted to be apart of the infection control committee. This is not something I have a huge intrest in but I thought it was at least a start. I went and met with the head of Infection Control who instructed me on how to use these grids to "catch" if my coworkers were foaming in/out or not or if they were using gloves for patient interaction (apparently that is the standard at my hospital...I didn't know that though). So basically I'm suppose to go to different floors on my own time while I'm working and do 10 observations as to if people are using infection control techniques. If I see someone who is not I have to wright their name down and turn it in to the Infection Control coodinator so that she can give it to the floor manager of the person I caught. Apparently verbal correction is taken and if more instances are caught correction increases.

    I have now had 5 days to think about this and I feel a bit weird about it really. First, apparently this "committee" does not really have meetings. We don't get together once a month or something to discuss policy, see how it can be improved, or how we can teach our coworker's on the floor how to improve their bedside skills to incoporate better infection control techniques. This is what I thought committees did, but I must be mistaken. Second, I feel like they are asking me to be a snitch and I'm uncomfortable with that. I believe that infection control is important. I don't think it is necessairly a bad thing for me to go and see if people are following procedure, but I'm not so sure it is my place to be taking down peoples names to get them in trouble. As a nearly year old nurse I'm just starting to be "one of the team" on the floor and really feel weird about becoming a spy. If it was something like I catch people and remind them to do it then go on about my business I would probably be alright with that. I guess I feel like what they are asking me to do is out of my authority and more of a manager's thing to do.

    Am I wrong about this? Has anyone else been asked to do this sort of thing without any extra authority being given to them? Plus what about this whole doing it on "my own time"?

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    About KalipsoRed

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 219; Likes: 576
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Telemetry


  3. by   Whispera
    I wouldn't do that job. It's setting you up for the anger of other people. Plus, do you have time to do this on your own work hours? I would never have that extra time!
  4. by   mcleanl
    I'm with you Whispera.....
  5. by   Whispera
    I need to add some more. I mis-read your entry, KalipsoRed. It isn't ok for you to be asked to do this on your own time. If it's work time, that's another thing, EXCEPT that it's not ok to do it, period, in my opinion (to say nothing of the lack of time within the usual work day).

    I don't think it's ethical to set one nurse up to "spy" on others, nor is it ethical to be the nurse that does the spying. Sooner rather than later, people will know what you're doing. People will become less than thrilled to see you arrive where they are working. Being a rather new nurse, it could definitely effect your future ability to fit in with other nurses. You have no idea who you'll be working with in the future!

    I think you should turn down this "opportunity," and ask if there is another way you can be helpful. If not, that's ok...another opportunity, that's more fitting to your goals and hopes will come your way as time goes on. All you have to say is that you decided this particular activity isn't something you are interested in doing--you don't have to explain yourself.

    Consider this a test of your personal integrity and willingness to do something that it seems you see as un-good.
  6. by   rnmi2004
    It's great that you'd like to become more involved at work.

    If you're looking to feel better about your job, it doesn't sound like this committee will help the situation.

    You shouldn't be expected to perform the functions of the committee on your own time. And if the committee only serves the purpose of policing co-workers, then it isn't much of a committee. What about developing central line bundles? VAP protocols? Applying evidence-based practice?

    If anything, this committee will make you hate your job. See what other committees are available at your hospital that involve an area that interests you.
  7. by   KalipsoRed
    Thanks for all the replies! I didn't feel like this was a very ethical thing to do either, but my manager and the infection control coordinator are so "excited" about me becoming more "involved".

    Really the fact that this so called committee turned out to be what it was makes me like the hospital I work for even less. Since I have been in the medical field it has disgust me how little those who are in management and administration really understand about caring for a patient. I believe that if they did they could truly make up some policies that would improve patient care AND their budget.

    All the committees we have seem to be comming up with new policies and more paper work. I think hospitals run much like patient care does these days. You have a patient with the nurse, the heart doctor, the psych doctor, the renal doctor, the social worker, the case coodinator, the patient care tech and we are all doing things for this one patient, but no one is effectively communicating what is going on, where the plan is leading, or telling the family or patient what is happening. It is a broken story with plenty of missing pieces that the patient doesn't quite know how to put together. Now if that isn't bad enough lets turn the whole crew against each other and see how much further we will get.

    All these big wigs and committees come up with their own ideas, they may in fact be great ideas, but there is not one that know all the parts of the story. So because of someone's great idea time is spent away from my patient filling out one more useless piece of paper work that was implemented to help protect me and the patient. Let me ask you, when is the last time you honestly drew up insulin infront of another nurse before you got him/her to sign off on your insulin sheet? How many policies do you short cut because they are honestly to time consuming to do them the "proper" way? No one wants to be a half-***ed nurse. Come on lets work together to make policies and procedures safe AND time efficent!!!

    Is there any work enviornment that actually works toward that goal and seems to get somewhere? If so please let me know and I will put in for a transfer.
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    A co-worker once defined a "Committee" as:
    A toothless entity created and sustained by Management for the sole purpose of 'display'. So that they may claim "Look! We're doing something about it! We have a committee investigating the issue". Nothing more. Nothing less.
    What's the purpose of granting you more responsibility with little to no authority? Reminds me off all them "non-binding resolution" Congress is so fond of passing...