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Planning Your Week

The key to a successful Infection Control Week is associated with providing a variety of activities and maintaining a high level of interest. Success also depends upon getting a wide variety of people or departments actively involved.

Your first task is to designate why your organization should participate in a Infection Control event and what you hope will be achieved. This might be as simple as determining 'goals and objectives' or as formalized as defining a 'mission statement'.

When developing your Mission Statement: a) be realistic - a single focus, done well, can be more effective than attempting to do too much b) consider the current level of practice of staff c) address the priority needs of your organization

Some sample mission statements:

  • To create awareness and knowledge of the role of the Infection Control Practitioner/Infection Control Committee
  • To promote good hand washing by all staff
  • Education and promotion of preventive measures for a specific infectious disease which is of concern in your organization
  • Timely Infection Control issues

Keep in mind that, as planning progresses, the Mission Statement will become more precise or enlarged. However, in order to receive approval and authorization to proceed, the effectiveness and credibility of the initial proposal requires a well defined intent.

The next task is to obtain a full mandate from all levels of management in your organization in order to promote the success of the venture:

a) Inform your immediate supervisor of your proposal. Planning and implementing the event will require additional time and effort. Your manager's commitment to assist and, if necessary, to redelegate tasks will allow you to prioritize your involvement.

b) Make a proposal to the Infection Control or a related Committee, according to the administrative framework of your organization. Having obtained a committee consensus, you or the Committee Chair will then approach the Administrator.

c) Obtain approval and authorization from administration. An administrative mandate is essential not only from an organizational aspect, but also to elicit support and participation by Management.

You are now ready to begin planning your event! For more help and suggestions:

The Planning Committee

Consider a Planning Committee of 4 or 5 people, which is workable and sufficient to delegate tasks. Members may then choose to form small groups to assist them. Having a planning committee distributes the work load and sustains enthusiasm, as it disseminates the mission of the event. Whether your plans are modest or elaborate, you will find it helpful to obtain the assistance of at least one other person. A one-person show is impressive, but quickly leads to burnout (yours!).

a) Selecting the Committee Criteria for selection of committee members are:

  • An interest in the project and a willingness to serve
  • Representation from various areas of the workplace (e.g. Housekeeping, Food Services, Volunteers, Direct Care)
  • Achievers who are known to be well organized
  • Persons with desirable talents and/or contacts
  • Staff who work well in groups

b) Preplanning the first Committee meeting A well organized meeting sets a precedent and reassures your Committee members that their time will be spent efficiently. Some guidelines:

  • Determine which members you prefer to assume specific areas of planning. Approach the members before the meeting to ensure that they are willing to be responsible for the territory
  • Appoint a recording secretary to take minutes
  • Set a meeting date, time and location that is convenient for all members
  • Prepare an agenda for distribution prior to the meeting

c) The agenda Create an agenda to guide discussion and keep the meeting focused. Some items might include:

  • Review the initial Mission Statement (goals, objectives).
  • If necessary, refine the statement and reach a group consensus.
  • Determine who the target group(s) will be (e.g. all staff, a particular department or professional group, students, volunteers, groups outside your organization).
  • Set the date and duration of the event. The date may be chosen to coincide with National Infection Control Week and should not conflict with another major event in your organization. The duration will depend on the extent of your project. It may be advisable to plan for one day if this is your initial venture or if time is limited.
  • Present and review task lists for each planning group (e.g. scientific/educational, activities, finances, exhibitions/displays, hospitality).
  • Circulate task worksheets to each Committee group coordinator. Some samples:
  • Fill in tasks as agreed upon by the Committee. Set target dates for tasks. Be realistic but leave sufficient time to obtain responses or to choose alternatives, if necessary. All tasks should be completed and confirmed at least one week prior to the event.
  • Determine the number and frequency of meetings which will be required.
  • Set a date for the next meeting.

d) Follow-up Provide leadership and throughput to your Committee

  • Circulate minutes to members.
  • Keep appropriate management personnel informed of the progression of plans.
  • Revise the task worksheets for distribution to each Committee group coordinator.
  • Don't forget your own task list! Keep in touch with the Planning Committee members.
  • Liaise and coordinate. Problem-solve.
  • Consistently acknowledge the achievements of your Committee. Show your appreciation.
  • Maintain the meeting format throughout the planning process.