"Positive Deviants" Shown to Lead Improvements in MRSA Infection Rates
New Jersey Institute of Technology news release.
The research focus resulted from a long-term project to reduce MRSA infections at Maine Medical Center through an organizational change technique, known as positive deviance. Positive deviants are notable individuals who come to lead the change process from within based on their own behaviors that deviate from the organization's norms and accomplish extraordinary results using ordinary resources.
The researchers found positive deviance made a significant impact on infection prevention across the enterprise. One nurse's aide described how she realized that deep change had occurred when she overcame her fears and corrected a physician politely in front of several patients, as the correction needed to occur at that moment, and the physician sincerely thanked her for the reminder. The study also illustrates the requisite role of top management in an often bottom-up organization.
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