Tieamwork... er, Teamwork

With spring in the air, our thoughts this time of year turn to the outdoors as we climb out of hibernation. Our national pastime has returned and has offered itself to us without interruption. Every team begins working together in spring training with one common goal -- winning a World Series title. Professional sports like basketball and hockey have begun their playoffs, already eliminating those organizations that didn’t work as well together as those still in the hunt for a championship.

There is one common ideology between sport and your job... teamwork. Webster defines teamwork as, “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” Many tasks you perform daily are individual in nature, but when these individual parts are grouped together they contribute to something bigger... a team.

This month, I will once again make the annual pilgrimage to attend “spring training” for the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) conference in Orlando, Fla. These professionals will assemble to learn and share ideas about their industry. Most become stronger because of what was learned, and are now revitalized and bring knowledge back to their department, or team.

These stalwart professionals are often under-appreciated and overlooked by their facilities, but as a team they work as hard as anyone to perform a role that is vital to the success of your facility. They are an integral cog in reducing healthcare-acquired infections (HAI).

Some states are finally starting to take notice of how vital the central service team is to a healthcare organization and are now requiring mandatory individual certification—think of it as moving from the minor to major leagues. With any luck, this attention will make people take notice of the central service profession and put it on par with other healthcare professions like nursing.

While seemingly isolated for many years, IAHCSMM has been working with other organizations to understand and develop new practices that will not only reduce infections, but also streamline efficiencies that will impact the industry for years to come. The organization has realized that working alone does no good to an organization, or more importantly, the patient. It has learned what teamwork is all about—collectively and on a facility-wide basis, and would be the first to tell you that there is no “I” in team.

Bill Eikost is publisher of ICT.

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