- Which change of job did you find the most difficult to make?
I went from a Infection Prevention Manager to a Nurse Educator. I went from managing the cleanliness of the hospital and safety protocols of all the hospital staff to educating a specific group of nurses in labor and delivery. I had to go back to school for two years to make this change therefore it created a great deal of decision making for her. I considered the extra time I had to see if I was going to be able to use that time in order to do school work and with boy my kids heading off to college I thought about how, honestly, it was the perfect time for me to take time for something I want to do and go back to school. I would be transferring from CMC – Mercy to CMC –Main which meant a slightly longer drive for her to make along with other cons. I had to consider the finances along with if there would be a schedule change. Would I be working 9-5 or odd ball hours along with holidays? Eventually I made the decision to go back to school in order to become a nurse educator.
- Tell us about the biggest change that you have had to deal with. How did you cope with it?
I was at CMC when the merger took place between CMC main and CMC mercy that was a big change that I had to deal with not only because I was having to become co workers with hundreds of new employees I was having to begin working very closesly with the infection prevention managers and managers of quality that are employed at CMC Main. It was a stressful time for me to say the least, I was trying to handle the infection prevention and my normal routines while trying to deal with a merger and see how the way I work can be combined with the way they work. I believe I did get stressed out frequently but coped with it well. I looked at it as more of a learning experience on how to combine two large hospitals and how to combine employees that worked separately into working as one.
- Explain a situation when you took a risk in your professional life. What motivated you to do so?
The risk I took was changing jobs and hospitals. I was motivated by change. I wanted to try something new and I just thought to myself I might hate it I might love it but no matter what I can learn from it. I can improve myself from going back to school no matter the job I take and I taught exercise classes at my gym so I already knew I loved teaching.
- Do you consult with others before making a decision?
I would say it depends on the scenario. If it affects others then yes I will consult with them before making the decision. I am far from a know-it-all therefore I don’t want to make a decision and then have it impact others badly. I like to involve every individual that is going to be affected in on my decision-making. If the decision involves just me personally, then I will ask advice of my close loved ones or coworkers but ultimately I’m going to do what I believe is best for me.
- Explain your general decision-making process. How do you make decisions in general?
I try to define and clarify the issue and assess if it has a sense of urgency to it and how big of an impact it will make. I gather all the thoughts and facts I can before I make a final decision and this includes going to others to see if they have an opinion on it or not and how it will affect them. Then I brainstorm and consider the pros and cons, then after that I just select what I believe it is best. No one is perfect so I’m going to make the wrong decisions but I try to limit those as much as I can.
- Share an example of a situation where you had to make a decision when you didn’t have all facts?
We had a patient who contracted MRSA within the hospital a couple of months ago, everyone said they used proper safety protocols when dealing with other MRSA patients before him etc. etc. Basically no one was owning up to a mistake that could have been made, so I had to develop a plan to of course make sure no other patients contracted MRSA and had to begin evaluating the patient without knowing the exact causes of this contraction. I couldn’t make an immediate decision on how it was contracted so I just had to assume a mistake was made from one of the staff members or safety garments, right down their names for future references, and continue on my job and decide not to blame a specific individual or action.
- Do you believe you strive in cultural competence and if so, how?
I view everyone as an equal. I actually enjoy conversing with others who differ from me to learn more about where they come from. In healthcare I feel as if you have to have cultural competence. You can’t treat a patient differently based off of their culture or backgrounds that’s unethical and will result in termination and it should remain that way as far as I’m concerned.
- Describe the actions you take to motivate and involve team members?
Communicate, communicate, communicate I communicate with my team members on a daily basis. I let them know what I expect from them and they let me know what is expected of me. We motivate each other that way. Of course in a work place I don’t want to disappoint my co workers and definitely don’t want to disappoint my boss therefore I try my best to succeed and when my team members see that I feel as if they try to succeed as well since I’m giving it my all for them they will give their all for me.
- Tell me how you motivate yourself? How do you remain self-motivated?
I motivate myself by thinking of how I made a difference in someone’s life. For example, by stopping a doctor in a hall who didn’t use the proper safety measures to go into a MRSA infected patient’s room, I could have no only prevented the doctor from contracting MRSA but I could have helped the next patient he saw. That plays a large part in my motivation. I also am a very goal driven individual. I enjoy creating goals for myself, accomplishing those goals, and then setting more goals. My goals also keep me motivated to stay on track and do my best.
- Beside verbal communication, how do you effectively communicate with colleagues?
CMC has their own email outlook, so it is easy to stay in touch with the individuals in the work place. All their names and even pictures are presented in this system so you never have to go far to look for their contact information to contact a certain employee or coworker.
- How do you establish good communication and information flow with others?
I just always keep them updated. Even on things that lack a great deal of importance. I will go to a team member or another infection preventionist, or quality manager and just let them know what my game plan is for the day and where I will be if they need me. I also ask them questions about common issues or concerns, or patients. I will ask the quality manager of safety if he saw how good the ER looked after a new implementation of a cleaning system and have a discussion based off of that. It is important to talk in this field and not be afraid to communicate. Especially with having to communicate with physicians and stop them in the hall to tell them they aren’t doing their job right, it can be intimidating, but doing so in a professional polite manner saves lives.
- Define the steps that you take to maintain good co-worker relationships?
Communication – I ask questions about their professional and personal lives to show them I’m interested in how they are doing outside of the work place and show compassion and concern.
Listen – It is so easy for me to tell when someone isn’t listening to me and that offends me greatly. I make sure to listen every time someone speaks to me and offer them feedback and advice when it is asked or needed
Professionalism and Politeness – I try in every circumstance not to lose my temper and engage in unprofessional and rude behavior. I think it is important, if there is a concern or disagreement with another employee, to handle it in a calm manner and try not to destroy that relationship that is already built.
- How do you assess the team you work with and yourself? Do you believe you’re self-aware?
Team – I assess their quality of work and time management above all else. I also like to consider if they are effectively communicating or not. I assess these by seeing how many mistakes have been made in the prior months and if they have missed any deadlines or if I have heard any complaints.
Myself – I assess myself my sitting down and reflecting on my work ethic and leadership in the past couple of months. I ask myself if I consider my team members if I’m thinking about them when I make decisions. Did I make all my deadlines, and haven’t received any complaints. If the infection rates have inclined or declined. How well do I feel like I have communicated with my co-workers.
I believe I’m self aware I can usually tell when I need to step away from the situation take a breath and gather myself. I also believe I’m good at recognizing how my behaviors affect others that’s why in most case scenarios I always try to act professional and polite in order to avoid upsetting
- Define a time when you had to use strategic thinking? Is there a time you didn’t strategically plan and it didn’t benefit you?
I had to strategically think before I changed jobs definitely. I had to assess my personal life as well as professional in every aspect. I had to assess if there would even be a job for me once I completed my degree. I can’t think of a time where I didn’t strategically plan I normally out weigh all the pros and cons as well as any other aspect of the decision or planning before I do it.
- Describe a time when you witnessed an individual being unprofessional in the work place.
Through my many years of work I’ve witnessed quite a few of unprofessional behaviors. One recently was when two nurses were outside of a room with a sleeping patient and a family member reading a book and they were discussing their nightlife on the nights they have off. Although the patient was sleeping, I assure you the family member of the patient did not care to hear about these nurses drunken adventures prior to them caring for their loved one. I did step in and say this was unprofessional to be talking about and it can wait until you are off duty and not near patients. They took it well and understood.
- How would you handle someone on your team being unprofessional?
I would definitely make a point to consult them and discuss how they were being unprofessional and how that is not what is expected of them, but I would make sure to do so in a polite way that way no hostility arises. If the behavior continues then maybe a more severe meeting would need to take place with HR.
I was able to interview Dina Khentigan who was the Infection Prevention Manager at CMC-Mercy. I was not only able to ask her these questions and get more in depth responses on her leadership competencies but I was actually able to see them in person while I shadowed her. I was able to learn various techniques and skills of how to efficiently lead a team and be a team member. I covered various topics about change, risk, motivation, communication, professional relationships, decision-making, self-assessments and self-awareness, strategic thinking, professionalism, and cultural competence.
Mrs. Khentigan recently changed from an Infection Prevention Manager at CMC-Mercy to the Infection Prevention Manager at both CMC –Mercy and Main to changing jobs completely and becoming a Nurse Educator. Through my discussion with her and her job changes I was able to learn about how to efficiently make the decision to change jobs. She took in a great deal of consideration and weighted the pros and cons of the job change and was able to make a decision. I learned in order to improve yourself as a professional person you have to take risks like she did, after having two kids, a husband, a stable full time job, a dog, and other responsibilities she decided to go back to school to better herself. She took a risk to go back and was motivated to do so because no matter what circumstance she was able to learn from it. That’s the kind of leader I strive to be. In my leadership improvement plan I want to do just that and consistently improve whether it is just going to conferences or meetings every month or if it is going back to school to expand my knowledge, I’m willing to do that to better my leadership skills and myself. Another change she had to endure was the merger that took place between CMC- Main and CMC- Mercy into the Central Division. This affected her leadership team and job greatly. She had to begin to work very closely with the infection prevention managers of quality that were not already employed at CMC – Mercy but also CMC – Main. She was even able to view this merger and large change as a learning experience. She was able to learn how to work better with other people and rather then walk into a new atmosphere and take charge she truly learned the importance of collaboration. Through my discussion with her regarding collaboration, I really was able to learn the importance of it and how I want to desperately include that into my leadership plan. I couldn’t imagine this merger going over smoothly if one individual in each department wasn’t able to collaborate with the existing employees. I find importance in hearing everyone else’s concerns, ideas, and issues in order to address all topics fairly.
When asked about motivation and involving team members she consistently brought up the importance of communication. She makes sure to let her team members know what is expected of them and she enjoys hearing and doing what is expected of her. I think this is an important aspect of leadership. To be a transformational leader one has to be able to allow the team members to feel equal and I feel as if Dina Khentigan does a good job of doing so. She allows for criticism from her team members and doesn’t reprimand them for doing so. With me also striving to be a transformational leader it was beneficial to hear how she goes about motivating and communicating with her team members. She also made a point of saying that she tries to be a consistent role model because if they see her trying her best to succeed then she hopes her team members will also do their best to succeed. She motivates herself by thinking about how she makes a difference in someone’s life. Being an infection preventionist she is able to work directly with patients and the clinical staff therefore directly affecting their health and their treatment. Although I will not be as clinical as she is, she did mention she is very goal driven and feels as if her goals keep her motivated. I also am very goal oriented I consistently have short term and long-term goals. I don’t want to lose this goal-oriented mindset. I believe having goals and working towards those goals make me an efficient and motivational leader. Similar to Mrs. Khentigan, it keeps me on track and wanting to do my best within my quality of work.
She also demonstrates cultural competency because she views everyone as an equal. She enjoys the diversity in the work place and learning about others from their perspective. Especially in the healthcare industry, she has to treat every patient equally she can’t deny a patient care or demonstrate unprofessional behavior because of his or her culture or background. Not only is that seen as unethical but also if her staff demonstrates it she would immediately report it because she believes that it should result in a severe reprimand or termination. I also will demonstrate this behavior as a leader; I will not stand for someone discriminating against someone because of who they are. Discrimination is what I find to be the most unprofessional behavior and will continue to reprimand my employees if they chose to engage in this behavior.
When discussing communication she discussed how CMC has their own email outlook and how beneficial it was for their communication. Hospitals are large places with hundreds of people running around. Sometimes it is difficult to find an individual to tell them an urgent message. I found the importance in making sure that when I am a leaders if I’m unable to supply my team and facility with a specific mean of communication, that isn’t verbal, then to find an efficient way of communication even if they are out of the building or busy. She also stated how she always keeps her team members updated. I would want to do this in my time as a leader. This allows for frequent communication and I do believe it benefits the professional relationships you establish with your coworkers. It also helps to allow your coworkers and team members to feel comfortable communicating with you and it can also allow a sense of reward and motivation for them. For example, just by simply saying that an individual did a good job yesterday can keep them motivated to keep up the good work they are displaying. At the other end of the spectrum, it can allow for you to easily communicate with them your issues and concerns with their jobs. From my discussion with Mrs. Khentigan, I was able to realize even more the importance of communication within the work place.
I was also able to learn a way to maintain a good co-worker relationship. She said that the steps she uses to maintain a good co-worker relationship are to communicate, listen, and professionalism and politeness. I would adapt these steps into my own leadership improvement plan. She said she asks questions about their professional and personal lives to show compassion and concern. She also discussed the importance of listening. Listening allows the coworker to feel respected and their concerns, opinions, issues and other topics are being heard. She also said she believes it is important to not lose your temper and engage in unprofessional behavior, which I find to be important in every aspect of life and will bring into my professional life. I have always found it important to be professional, polite, and a good listener within my past places of employment. It shows respect and it is something I will continue to value as my time as a leader continues.
In her decision making processes she says if the decision affects other then she consults others that will be affected by her decision, otherwise she will ask the advice of coworkers or close loved ones but she is going to do what is best for her. In my professional life I would strive to make the best decisions for my facility, coworkers, and myself. Although decisions aren’t always that easy and are going to upset someone, I think it is important, just like Dina Khentigan, to discuss the way these decisions are going to affect others with them. I would never strive to make a decision independently and it end up negatively affecting co-workers. I believe that will show poor leadership and not efficiently benefit the facility or the staff. I also will chose to adopt her decision making process. I believe it is found to be efficient and allows her to look at the decision in every possible light before finalizing the decision she is going to make. Her process consists of defining and clarify the issue, assessing the urgency and impact, gather all the thoughts, facts, and opinions, then brainstorm, consider pros and cons, and then select the best decision. In my past decision making I roughly followed this decision making process, but hearing different stories about her decisions that she had to make it seemed that by her following this process most of the time she made what she felt like the right decision and wouldn’t go back to change her mind if she could. This is how I would want to feel as a leader, I would want others to trust my decisions and think it is going to benefit the organization.
She assesses her team by their quality of work and time management. She also considers the mistakes that have been made, their communication techniques, complaints, and missed deadlines. I find all these to be fair to assess when assessing team members. These are some of the aspects I would use in order to assess a team member for either a yearly evaluation or to see if they need to be rewarded or reprimanded. She assesses herself by reflecting on her work ethic and leadership. I feel as if she’s one of the individuals that can actually sit down and in an unbiased way reflect on what she has done wrong and what she has done right. I feel like this is one thing that I’ve learned I could work on. I do my no means feel as if I’m perfect and will be a perfect leader, but I do feel as if allowing myself to recognize my mistakes in the work place will benefit my staff and myself. It would also allow me to be more self-aware. She finds herself to be self-aware because she can step away from a situation and gather herself. She can also recognize how her behaviors affect others, which is another skill I will be aware of when I’m a leader and hope I can obtain. I believe I will develop the skill of being self-aware throughout my time in my profession.
Due to her decision making process and the way she goes about planning she can’t think of a time where she didn’t strategically think or plan and it resulted negatively. Of course this is a skill I wish to adapt in my leadership improvement plan. I would hope that it was natural for me to strategically think and plan to the point that I do it under every circumstance and situation.
Dina Khentigan does not tolerate unprofessionalism. She has discussed with individuals who she has seen being unprofessional in the work place in order to make sure they know that is not acceptable and not to do it again. She said no matter how unprofessional she would handle it in a polite and professional way and would not report it to higher authority if it only happened one time. Depending on the severity of the unprofessionalism I believe I would report it to higher authority. There is a fine line with unprofessionalism and if it goes to the extreme of putting a coworker, the reputation of the facility, or a patient in harm I believe it needs to be given to a higher authority immediately.
I was very fortunate to interview a healthcare worker who demonstrates leadership skills that I wish to obtain in the future. I learned greatly about leadership competencies and was even able to discuss examples of these leadership competencies being used in action. I believe it helped me view how I want to be as a leader, allowed me to think of how I would have handled the changes or unprofessionalism, and improve my leadership improvement plan.