1. Why did you choose a career in infection prevention and control?
Having started my nursing career as an oncology nurse in the Oncology Department, I was introduced to the basics of infection prevention and control, its importance to a vulnerable population, and how a simple act of doing proper hand hygiene help prevent the spread of microorganisms to patients who are immunocompromised.
Then, after a few years of working as a nurse, I was appointed as the infection control nurse of a facility specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. This prompted me to research evidence-based practices to prevent infections, read current standards, both locally and internationally, and implement changes in the facility in collaboration with our quality department.
2. What advice would you give someone who is interested in an infection prevention and control career?
The advice I can give to individuals interested in a career in infection prevention and control is to start by reaching out to the IP department, learning more about the program, and asking questions. Another way is by volunteering to be part of the IP team, and it may be by starting as an IP champion in your department. Lastly, searching for colleges and universities that offer programs or courses such as “Basic Infection Prevention and Control” that can help establish a foundation on one’s knowledge in the field of infection control.
3. What does being a CIC® mean to you?
Being Certified in Infection Control (CIC®) not only shows that I have the experience, knowledge, and capabilities as an infection preventionist. It helped me gain confidence that I am a subject expert who can help my team and other facility stakeholders provide evidence-based practices by promoting the infection prevention and control program to promote patient safety.
4. What was the best studying method for you when preparing for the initial certification examination?
Having scheduled review dates and content to focus on is a start. It was helpful to incorporate what I have studied into my workplace, such as providing in-service education to staff members and applying learnings to what I need to look out for during audits. Another method that worked for me was, reading standards and best practices on different platforms such as CDC, APIC, IPAC-Canada, WHO, OSHA, SHEA and journals (CJIC, AJIC, IJID, The Lancet etc.).
5. What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?
Establish your foundation in infection control. Use your experience and your knowledge to guide you in answering questions. Do not rush; spend time analyzing the questions. If you fail, that’s okay. Do not let others bring you down and hinder you from attaining your CIC®. Instead, use it as a motivation to take your next exam. Not everyone excels in written exams on their first or second try. The most important thing is that you do not give up and lose hope that you can succeed.
6. How do you stay up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices?
I stay up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices by frequently reading guidelines and standards and attending seminars, webinars and national conferences.
7. Are you part of an APIC or IPAC Canada chapter? If so, would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I am a member of both the APIC and IPAC Canada. I would highly recommend it to infection preventionists (IPs) and aspiring IPs, as it has helped me find the resources that I needed. It also paved the way for widening my network in the field of infection control, where I get the chance to join a community and talk to IPs worldwide.
8. How has the CIC® helped you grow professionally and in your career?
Being the infection prevention and control manager at my workplace challenged me to move out of my comfort zone and be more proactive by engaging with different stakeholders. By doing this, staff members, volunteers, students, and even family members ask questions about policies and procedures and evidence-practices to prevent the spread of infection. Obtaining my CIC® gave me a boost in self-confidence to lead the Infection Prevention and Control program in my workplace.
9. Are there any CIC® stories that keep you up at night? This can be related to the examination or a specific patient story that stands out.
Yes, for me it was during one month prior to my examination date was getting closer. I was trying to juggle studying and at the same time dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The fear of not having completed all the things I need to read to prepare me for the exam kept me up at night.
On the day of the exam, I kept telling myself, “You tried to cover what you can. You can do this!” My anxiety was high, and I was tense, upon completing the exam and seeing the “PASS” results on the screen I felt a quick relief and instant gratification.