We have all heard it before: The key to effective management is delegation. But, if you are like me, sometimes it’s hard to let go. What if the ball gets dropped? The problem is that either can’t get it all done well, or worse, we trust it’s getting done and it’s not. If we take a team approach to all those jobs and documents we need to maintain, where each team member has clearly assigned roles, documents their activities, and reports at monthly scheduled facility meetings, delegation may just work.

Here are some “hats” you may want to put on key staff members.

Safety Officer: A cautious, rule following staff member will shine wearing this hat. They can do facility walk-throughs, complete a safety checklist ( e-mail me for one I created…will have on the tools page soon!), keep your OSHA injury logs updated, maintain your Exposure Control Plan, and even test your eye wash station. Let them handle any coordination needs with your hazardous waste company. They can even shop for a “safer sharps” product for annual evaluation and make sure your spill kit is maintained.

Emergency Preparation Nurse: You probably already know who wears this hat. They may already be checking the crash cart supplies and equipment. Formalize the process to include review of emergency policies and forms, emergency training, coordinating drills, MH and Lipid rescue response, and BLS and ACLS certification tracking.

Infection Control Nurse: We know we need to provide formal training to the person wearing this hat, but consider expanding the duties to  include maintenance of all of your facility health records, infection control tracking, and hand hygiene surveillance. Consider including surveillance of your prep and scrub processes too.

QAPI/Risk Manager: This person should be great at documentation. They facilitate training staff for risk and quality processes, maintain incident reports, perform any needed follow up, look for trends, and recommend identified trends for studies. They can also prepare the reports, as well as collect your bench-marking data.

Medical Records Custodian/HIPAA compliance officer: Makes sense to combine the two under one hat, since both jobs require privacy and security of records. They can also facilitate records requests, records storage, and related policy maintenance.

Patient Liaison: Who wears your best patient advocate hat? Have them maintain your Advance Directive process, keep up with patient rights requirements, and manage any formal grievances. They can help with patients who don’t speak English, and maintain your collect patient satisfaction survey data.

Passing out all these hats will still require facilitation and support. Some hats may need to be yours, but you can still put them on at designated times so that those duties don’t get missed. Ensure staff success by providing reporting tools. Maintain binders for each “hat” and keep them updated. Collaborate about findings and set goals.

Track your activities and summarize them effectively to the Governing Board, then report the board response and decisions at your next team meeting.

Hopefully you may even end up with a few more good hair days.

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