Ahmed Rabie Elmekawy, CPHQ, CIC, AICHM 

Location: Saudi Arabia / Al-Kharj
Company/Organization: Altaawin Medical Company / Oplus Pharmacies
Title: Pharmacist
First certified: March 2024

  1. Why did you choose a career in infection prevention and control?

I chose infection prevention and control because infection control practitioners are experts in preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections. I can use my knowledge and experience to plan, develop, implement, coordinate, and evaluate system-wide infection prevention and control improvements.

  1. What advice would you give someone who is interested in an infection prevention and control career?

If someone interested in pursuing a career in infection prevention and control, here are some tips and advice to help you get started:

1. Education and Training: Consider obtaining a relevant degree in public health, epidemiology, microbiology, or a related field plus specialized training and certification in infection prevention and control, such as the Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) offered by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC), enhance credentials.

2. Gain Experience: Look for opportunities to gain hands-on experience in infection prevention and control, such as internships, volunteer work, or entry-level positions in healthcare facilities or public health organizations.

3. Stay Informed: Stay up-to-date on the latest developments, guidelines, and best practices in infection prevention and control by attending conferences, workshops, and continuing education programs.

4. Networking: Build a professional network by connecting with other professionals in the field, joining professional organizations like the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), and participating in networking events.

5. Develop Skills: Develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, attention to detail, and the ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team.

6. Demonstrate Commitment: Show your commitment to infection prevention and control through your actions, attitudes, and willingness to continuously learn and improve.

7. Seek Mentorship: Consider finding a mentor who can provide guidance, support, and advice as you navigate your career path in infection prevention and control.

By following these tips and advice, you can start building a successful career in infection prevention and control and make a meaningful impact in protecting public health and safety.

  1. What does being a CIC® mean to you?

Being a Certified in Infection Control (CIC®) signifies a high level of expertise and competency in the field of infection prevention and control. It demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest standards of practice, staying current on best practices and guidelines, and continuously seeking to improve and enhance one's knowledge and skills.

For me, being a CIC® means taking on a leadership role in preventing healthcare-associated infections, protecting patients and healthcare workers, and promoting a culture of safety within healthcare settings. It also means being part of a community of professionals who share a common goal of reducing the spread of infectious diseases and improving public health outcomes. Achieving and maintaining the CIC® certification requires dedication, hard work, and ongoing professional development. 

It is a badge of honor that represents a significant accomplishment and a commitment to excellence in infection prevention and control.

  1. What was the best studying method for you when preparing for the initial certification examination?

When preparing for the initial certification examination for infection control, I found that a combination of study methods worked best for me. Here are some strategies that I found helpful:

1. Utilizing Study Materials: I made use of CBIC, APIC study guides, questions, that specifically designed for the CIC® exam. These materials helped me understand the key concepts and topics that would be covered on the exam.

2. Creating a Study Schedule: I created a study schedule that allowed me to cover all the relevant topics over a set period of time. This helped me stay organized and focused on my study goals.

3. Practice Questions: Practicing sample questions and taking practice exams was crucial in preparing for the exam. This helped me familiarize myself with the format of the questions and assess my knowledge and readiness.

4. Group Study Sessions: Studying with colleagues or peers who were also preparing for the exam was beneficial. Discussing and reviewing concepts together helped reinforce my understanding of the material.

5. Hands-On Experience: Applying the knowledge gained from studying to real-world scenarios and practical situations in my work environment helped me solidify my understanding of infection control principles.

6. Regular Review and Revision: Regularly reviewing and revising the material, especially areas where I felt less confident, was essential in reinforcing my knowledge and ensuring retention of key information.

Ultimately, finding a study method that works best for you may involve a combination of these strategies or other approaches tailored to your learning style and preferences. Consistency, dedication, and perseverance are key to successfully preparing for the CIC® exam.

  1. What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?

Accreditation: CBIC certificate program has the highest accredited, recognized accrediting organization in the field of infection prevention and control. 
Accreditation adds credibility to the certificate and ensures that the program meets established standards of quality and rigor.

  1. How do you stay up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices?

Staying up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices is essential for healthcare professionals to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and the community. 
Here are some strategies to help me stay current with the latest developments in this field:

1. Professional Organizations: Joining professional organizations such as the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) can provide access to resources, webinars, conferences, and networking opportunities to stay informed about best practices in infection prevention.

2. Continuing Education: Participating in continuing education programs, workshops, seminars, and online courses related to infection prevention and control can help you stay current with the latest guidelines, research findings, and strategies.

3. Public Health Agencies: Regularly checking updates and guidelines from reputable public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and local health departments can keep me informed about emerging infectious diseases and outbreak response protocols.

4. Peer Networking: Engaging with colleagues in infection prevention and control through forums, discussion groups, and social media platforms can facilitate knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices, and discussions on current challenges and solutions.

5. Journal Subscriptions: Subscribing to relevant journals and publications in the field of infection prevention and control can provide access to the latest research, case studies, guidelines, and expert opinions.

6. Attending Conferences and Workshops: Participating in conferences, symposiums, and workshops focused on infection prevention and control allows me to learn from experts, engage in discussions, and stay updated on advancements in the field.

7. Regular Literature Review: Setting aside time to review scientific literature, research articles, guidelines, and reports related to infection prevention and control can help me stay informed about new developments and evidence-based practices.

8. In-Service Training: Participating in in-service training sessions provided by Altaawin Hospital on infection prevention protocols, updates, and initiatives can help reinforce my knowledge and skills.

By incorporating such these strategies into your professional development plan, you can stay current with infection prevention and control practices and contribute to maintaining a safe healthcare environment for all stakeholders.

  1. Are you part of an APIC or IPAC Canada chapter? If so, would you recommend it to others?  

 No, Unfortunately   but yes I recommend  .

       8. How has the CIC® helped you grow professionally and in your career?

As an infection preventionist, obtaining the Certification in Infection Control (CIC®) credential has been instrumental in my professional growth and career advancement in several ways:

1. Recognition of Expertise: Achieving the CIC® credential demonstrates my commitment to excellence in infection prevention and control and validates my knowledge, skills, and expertise in the field. This recognition enhances my credibility among colleagues, employers, and patients.

2. Career Advancement: The CIC® credential is widely recognized and respected in the healthcare industry. Holding this certification has opened up opportunities for career advancement, leadership roles, and increased responsibilities within my organization.

3. Professional Development: The process of preparing for and obtaining the CIC® credential has expanded my knowledge base, deepened my understanding of infection prevention principles, and exposed me to a broader range of best practices and guidelines in the field.

4. Networking Opportunities: Being a CIC® has connected me with a community of like-minded professionals who are dedicated to infection prevention and control. This network has provided valuable opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and peer support.

5. Continuing Education: Maintaining the CIC® credential requires ongoing professional development through continuing education activities. This commitment to lifelong learning has enabled me to stay current with the latest developments, guidelines, and research in infection prevention and control.

6. Enhanced Job Performance: The knowledge and skills acquired through the CIC® certification process have directly contributed to my ability to effectively implement evidence-based practices, develop comprehensive infection prevention programs, and respond to emerging infectious threats in my healthcare setting.

7. Patient Safety: Ultimately, holding the CIC® credential has empowered me to play a critical role in safeguarding patient safety, reducing healthcare-associated infections, and promoting a culture of infection prevention excellence within my organization.

In summary, the CIC® credential has been a cornerstone of my professional development in infection prevention and control, providing me with the recognition, expertise, and resources needed to excel in my career and make a meaningful impact on patient care and safety.