Leadership Lesson – October 2023: International Infection Prevention Week Highlights the Importance of Leadership in IP Programs

September 29, 2023

Words of advice from leaders on the front lines.
This month’s leadership lesson is from Amy Ward, MS, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC, Alliant Health Solutions Patient Safety Manager.

Leadership Lesson Image_IPW Week logo

International Infection Prevention Week is coming up the week of October 15th-21. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the Fundamentals of Infection Prevention.”  In this month’s leadership lesson, we will discuss leadership as a fundamental practice for infection prevention (IP).

According to the CDC’s Core Infection Prevention and Control Practices for Safe Healthcare Delivery in All Settings, leadership support is critical for the success of the IP program. Leadership support core practices include:

  • Accountability from the governing body for the success of the IP program
  • Allocation of resources to remove and mitigate risk
  • Assignment of qualified and trained individuals to manage the IP program
  • Empowerment and support of the authority of those managing the IP program

While many IPs do not hold formal leadership roles within the health care organization, their collaboration with leaders and their influence on others in the facility has a great impact. The APIC Competency Model is made up of six domains, one of which is leadership. The IP acts as a leader in the organization by establishing a vision for the IP program and working with other leaders and colleagues to ensure the goals of the IP program align with the organization’s goals and strategic vision. The IP will develop leadership skills as they advance through their career; however, they will thrive when they have support and mentoring from health care leaders and are empowered to act on their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

During International Infection Prevention Week, I encourage those of you in a leadership capacity in any health care setting to view your infection prevention plan with your facility’s IP.  The IP plan should include a description of how leadership supports the IP program, how the IP will continue to expand their knowledge of IP practices and their leadership capacity, and how the IP is a trusted expert and decision-maker through a statement of authority.