The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is working to develop a cadre of specialised educators within 12 African V2020 LINK hospitals to engage health professionals in leadership, increasing the quality and quantity of healthcare provision.
Nursing Officer Patricia Mulenga reflects on her attendance at a Leadership Development Workshop held in January 2016 and her achievements over the past year.
‘I am Patricia Mulenga, an ophthalmic nurse working at Kitwe Central Hospital in the eye unit. I have been a nurse for 16 years, 10 years of which I have spent in the eye unit. I am also a trained theatre nurse and have attended a two-month course in Diabetic Retinopathy/retina surgery at the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) in Moshi, Tanzania. I am currently working as a nursing officer at the eye unit in Kitwe.
I attended the leadership development workshop which was held in Kitwe on 20th -21st January 2016. I gained a lot of knowledge on what leadership really is, and what kind of a leader I am. Before the training, I was leading my staff without ever thinking about the impact of my leadership on my colleagues. My attitude towards my staff is now different as I learnt how to effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities.
During the workshop I developed a Quality Improvement Project (QIP) which aimed “to improve the safety in surgical care of patients”. The reason I chose this kind of topic was because I wanted to change the way infection control is handled in theatre and eliminate the chances of infection to a patient in post-operative care. My project had impacts both on staff in theatre and on patients who will receive quality care.
My Cascade Training Workshop, which followed, was also closely related to my QIP, which was focused on “quality improvement”. I wanted to ensure that my staff observe quality standards not only in theatre but also in other areas of service delivery.
After the workshops, I produced a follow up to see whether and how my staff are implementing the steps I taught them in ensuring infection control in theatre and am glad to note that they have implemented everything I taught them. They are now able to follow step by step the sterilisation of instruments, equipment and gowns.
My aim is to ensure that they continue doing this and I plan to continue observing from time to time to ensure they do not relax and revert to old unsystematic ways of sterilisation.’