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Challenges of Managing an Infection Prevention Department Across Multiple Hospitals – Carolyn Fiutem

In a continuation of her conversation with Jacob Hutcherson, Founder and CEO of Clutch Recruitment, Carolyn Fiutem, the Executive Director, Network Infection Prevention at Community Health Network, delved into the challenge of aligning infection prevention strategies with varying hospital cultures. Fiutem emphasizes the importance of a tailored approach, understanding the unique cultural setting of each hospital, and the necessity of patience in driving standardization across the network.

One of the critical takeaways from Fiutem’s narrative is the tenacity required in facing resistance to necessary changes. Drawing a vivid analogy to a “bulldog” that doesn’t let go, she underscores her determination in pursuing the right course of action, even when faced with initial rejections. This trait, she believes, is vital for those in leadership positions within the infection prevention domain.

Fiutem also touches on the importance of choosing the right battles and understanding the broader organizational and economic context in which these hospitals operate, especially during financially challenging times. She encourages her team to keep certain initiatives “on the back burner, not off the stove,” waiting for the opportune moment to reintroduce them.

Furthermore, Fiutem advocates for building a “supporting coalition” by identifying and engaging with influential individuals across different groups, a strategy she likens to the concepts presented in the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. She strongly recommends this book to anyone aspiring to or currently in a leadership role, highlighting its enduring relevance to her work in navigating the complex interplay of hospital cultures, infection prevention standards, and organizational dynamics. Through her pragmatic and resilient approach, Fiutem showcases a leadership model adept at navigating the nuanced challenges inherent in standardizing infection prevention practices across diverse hospital cultures.

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