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Delivering Quality Care Depends on Health Worker’s Knowledge, Skills and Attitude

Delivering Quality Care Depends on Health Worker’s Knowledge, Skills and Attitude

A workforce that delivers quality care is the key objective for any health organisation, however obtaining the right ingredients for the perfect system has always been one of the key challenges. The term “quality” is also very subjective as every consumer has their own perception of what the perfect health sector would look like. However, this concept of quality develops with time and often changes more rapidly than anticipated, maybe because of an improving economy, evolving political structure, or the influence of developed nations.The health training institutions, schools, universities and training colleges, which provide students with the knowledge and competencies for the jobs they will be required to do have often failed to capture the reality of the workforce. Nevertheless, the desire for more convenient, affordable, accessible and available health systems has become a highly discussed topic. Ultimately, none of this is achievable if clear goals are not set right from the beginning: it is crucial to provide health care professionals with the right training to establish the right skillset to develop the right attitude in order to create an effective workforce for the delivery of quality health care.

Future of Soft Skills

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking website, says the biggest skills gap is not coding. Rather, most employers are now looking for soft skills like written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills.

Nurses Need Soft Skills in the Future - POLHN

PC: Devina

In terms of the health workforce, the soft skills that every health worker should attain during their training are reported to be teamwork, adoptability, communication, time management and empathy. Achieving these will in turn help ensure quality patient care. Teamwork: Health sector comprises of many cadres and being able to effectively work in teams and contribute to a greater goal is essential for improving level of care and patient satisfaction. Adoptability: Due to advancing technology, rapidly changing disease patterns and increasing industry demand, it is extremely important for the health workers to be prepared for unexpected situations. Knowing how to handle difficult tight-cornered situations will not only improve job satisfaction but it will also increase staff retention. Communication: Health workers mostly remain quiet when it comes to expressing their opinion, concern and ideas due to workplace or leadership culture. However the best suited candidates are often those who demonstrate effective communication skills and are able to remain controlled, calm and competent. Time management: Once again workplace culture dominates this component. Due to respect for the hierarchy, the junior officers normally end up shouldering most of the daily responsibilities. Nonetheless, it is very important to be able to quickly re-prioritise and manage one’s own tasks before volunteering to take up some last-minute nominated assignments by superiors. Empathy: Health is always one of the few key items in a person’s life. No matter how technical the situation may be, it is crucial for health workers to be able to feel the needs of the patient and develop a relationship of trust and respect. Being able to understand clients needs improves interpersonal effectiveness and satisfaction. The soft skills gaps often create a deficit in the expected competency of entry-level employees. This affects the overall quality of the care and patient satisfaction. However, providing motivation and personality development skills that are critical for thinking abilities may not be possible through curriculum. Hence, in many countries due to the incoherence between education providers and service industry, the graduates are expected to learn more before being able to work independently. In light of contemporary expectations and skills shortages, healthcare providers have a greater responsibility to ensure that they maintain a highest level of patient care and satisfaction by carefully screening candidates to ensure those of best fit are hired. Other than specific technical knowledge, it is essential that healthcare professionals acquire exceptional soft skills.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program: From the Philippines to Saudi Arabia

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program: From the Philippines to Saudi Arabia

Jeffrey Mendoza is a Filipino expatriate now based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He recently completed the POLHN self-paced course, Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes in Hospitals. As the final assignment for this course, Jeffy shared an exemplary piece about his experience what he has learned. It is our pleasure to share it on the POLHN Blog.


I am a Filipino expatriate who works in Saudi Arabia. I have worked in the Philippines but there is no antimicrobial stewardship program in that small hospital. And since it is a third world country, we lack resources. Currently, I am privileged to work in a 500 bed capacity tertiary hospital in Saudi  Arabia with good supply of resources and manpower.

What is the most feasible AMS team composition to work effectively in your institutional context?

We have already formed an Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, which is composed of an infectious disease consultant, a clinical pharmacist, infection control practitioner and nursing leader. We also have infectious disease consultants that are doing rounds every day. Our medical director is also our infection control director as well as the chairman of the therapeutics committee. He oversees the activities of the antimicrobial stewardship team. We have clinical pharmacist who monitors the use of antibiotics. Our pharmacists coordinate with the clinicians regarding prescription of antibiotics and preparation of it. All orders are in the system so there is easy communication in the orders. The infection control team formulated the antimicrobial stewardship policy based on guidelines. This policy is uploaded in the intranet and available for all staff for reference. Our microbiologist is active in reporting MDRO cases and sending antibiogram reports every 6 months. This antibiogram is the reference point for empirical treatment.

What are the challenges in establishing an AMS team?

Since it is a new hospital and there are a lot of changes, staffs come and go that is why there wasn’t a continuation of what has to be started in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programme. Then there was an assigned chairman of infectious disease physician who became the permanent head of the AMS team. The CEO is supportive of the AMS Programme. One of the challenges is that clinicians are not aware of such programmes especially in terms of antibiotic prescription. Another is on how to order the system, since there is automatically a 5 to 7 day regimen for antibiotics.

What are the strategies to overcome these challenges?

The first strategy is to hire competent ID physicians and consultants and formulate a committee and team for antimicrobial stewardship. Secondly, the team educated clinicians regarding the proper prescription of antibiotics. We have set restrictions on what antibiotics can be prescribed by residents, internal medicine and specialist like infectious disease consultants in order to regulate the dispensing of drugs. This is in coordination with the IT department. We are still facing issues with the ordering system, but we advised clinicians to monitor the antibiotic that the patients are receiving and there are infectious disease physicians who monitor the patients. At the same time we encourage the nurses to be vigilant and know if the antibiotics are appropriate based on culture and sensitivity

What is the way forward?

We are looking forward to having a more established AMS Committee. The Infection Control Department is planning to do surveillance for antimicrobial use and to compare with the Multi-Drug Resistant Organism (MDRO) surveillance. We are also looking forward to having a more systematic way of prescription of antibiotics using our electronic system. The Infection Control Department will work hand in hand with Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee.


Interested in learning more about advancing opportunities for antimicrobial stewardship at your workplace? POLHN’s course is free, self-paced and accredited; you will even receive an official certificate upon completion. Click here to learn more.