Brandi Ford, CIC

Location: Artesia, NM

Company/Organization: Artesia General Hospital

Title: Infection Prevention Nurse

First Certified: August 2019

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

I had worked in many different fields in nursing but none seemed to fit until; I was introduced to Infection Prevention.  I have always had an Interest in infections, their causes and ways to prevent them.  I also had the privilege of working with a fantastic ID Physician whose compassion for patients and the way that he made the time to take the time” to sit and educate them on their disease process further sparked my interest.  He left the patients with a better understanding of what to expect and how to prevent infections in the future and they held him with such high regard.  His passion for the field carried over into my own career.  

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

 As a floor nurse, I never truly understood what the day-to-day job of the Infection Prevention Nurse was and while in nursing school, we did not spend time with an IP during clinicals.  Therefore, my advice is to schedule time to talk with your hospitals IP Nurse and ask permission to shadow them for a few days.  The amount of knowledge you will gain from that interaction will provide you with better insight into the career.    

3:  What does being a CIC® mean to you?

By becoming a CIC, I obtained a greater knowledge of the infectious disease process and am now able to better investigate outbreaks and fully utilize scientific based evidence to help improve the infection prevention program within the rural hospital that I currently work and I am now better equipped to serve the community in which I live. 

4:  What was the best studying method for you when preparing for the initial certification examination?

 I found that I retained an abundant of information by completing the APIC online “Infection Prevention Certification Review Course 3.0”.  I failed the first attempt and then printed the questions and rationales and studied those.  I also completed the APIC Certification Study Guide.  It seems that the rationales provided me with the greatest feedback.  I created my own “flash cards” by taking pictures with my phone of all the questions and information that I found to be the hardest, and every time I wanted to get onto social media, I made myself look at the pictures first. The media “flash cards” became my new social media outlet!  Since we take our phones everywhere this seemed to help the most! 

5:  What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?

My advice would be, to plan to study for at least 6 months.  Not to get frustrated, the information does not start too fully sink-in until the last few weeks of studying.  Study in hour long sessions then make yourself take a short mental break.  Allow yourself a few days of non-study to rest your mind.  Lastly, be sure to find out from your employer if they financially compensate your salary if you pass, especially if that is something that you are counting on.

6:  How do you stay up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices?

I stay up-to-date by continuing to self-learn via APIC online webinars and participating my States APIC chapter education opportunities.  I am utilizing the APIC online text as well as using the CDC online training.  I also participate with the NM Hospital Association, and participate in all of the Infection related educational opportunities that they offer.

7:  Are you part of an APIC or IPAC Canada chapter?  Yes, I am a member of the National APIC and the APIC NM chapter 32.   If so, would you recommend it to others? Fully heartedly, Yes!! It allows you to build connection and obtain knowledge from fellow IP’s.

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

I have only held my CIC certificate for a short while, but just in merely studying for the exam, I learned so much about my day-to-day work in my current position!  I now have more confidence in providing and submitting information to Physicians and to Administrative levels.  I am more confident in performing my daily tasks and educating staff!  I plan to continue to grow in my profession and obtaining CIC provided me with the sense of accomplishment and the boost I needed to keep going!

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.

The night before the exam, I was glancing over some older notes and happened to come across a section that dealt with coagulase testing, I had read the information several times before but this time a light bulb came on and it made more sense.  Nearing the end of the exam, I felt myself becoming frustrated and losing my confidence in my own knowledge and was certain that I had failed every question!  The very last question just happened to be over coagulase testing and I was 100% confident in that I at least got one question correct.  Luckily, for me, I know more than I gave my self-credit for and that I did in fact pass the hardest exam that I have ever studied for in my entire life!  The sacrifice that my family and I went through to get me to this point was in fact worth it and I could not have done it without their love and unwavering support!