1. Why did you choose a career in infection prevention and control?
Before I knew that infection prevention was a career option, I was already performing basic infection prevention practices. With a background as a circulator registered nurse in a level one trauma center, I knew the importance of patient safety, hand hygiene, and sterile technique in the operating room. After leaving the operating room, I embarked on a journey to learn the bedside as a resource pool/float nurse. This foundation helped mold me into the infection preventionist and leader that I am today. I chose this career because I wanted to be a part of the change and help decrease hospital acquired infections. I love working in multidisciplinary teams to provide the best outcomes for our patients. Even though I left the bedside, I continue to communicate and interact with staff about infection prevention and control practices; I appreciate being a resource to them.
2. What advice would you give someone who is interested in an infection prevention and control career?
If you can get acquainted with your infection prevention department and shadow them, that would be a great starting point. It is difficult to explain what we do everyday because oftentimes it changes. Characteristics of a great infection preventionist include being flexible, working as a team player, and the ability to critically think. This can be a difficult profession, but it does yield a high reward. Although we are not direct patient care associates, we do play a huge role in saving lives by preventing infections.
3. What does being a CIC® mean to you?
Obtaining my CIC was challenging, but I am so proud that I met this milestone in my professional development. I feel equipped to serve as a subject matter expert for infection prevention and control practices for my organization.
4. How has being a CIC® helped you navigate the current COVID-19 climate?
I earned my certification in February of 2023, so we were well into the pandemic at the time of obtaining my CIC. The COVID-19 climate helped me understand endemics, epidemics, pandemics, clusters, and outbreaks. My career in infection prevention began about a month before we had our first case of COVID-19. Although it was a difficult and trying time, I learned so much.
5. What was the best studying method for you when preparing for the initial certification examination?
I recommend using the APIC certification study guide; the rationales provided for each answer makes this study guide an excellent resource. I frequently used “Quizlet” to make electronic flashcards on subjects that were difficult for me to grasp. Lastly, watching YouTube videos and joining in on CIC study groups are another alternative to receive information.
6. What advice would you give someone pursing certification?
Set the date but be realistic. Life can be crazy and hectic at times… not only at work but at home. Be sure to set a realistic deadline of when you want to take the exam. You do not want to feel rushed to study. Understand that this is A LOT of information and there is no way to memorize it all. Another word of advice is to ensure you understand what the question is asking you. There will be a lot of answers that “look” correct, but which choice answers the question.
7. How do you stay up-to-date on infection prevention and control practices?
I stay up to date on infection prevention practices by receiving regular email updates from the CDC, WHO, and my local health department. I also regularly use the APIC forums and listen to the APIC podcast. Lastly, I always attend my local chapter (APIC Palmetto) meetings. I have no problem researching articles and reading up on what are the latest guidelines.
8. How has the CIC® helped you grow professionally and in your career?
Obtaining my CIC has given me formal recognition that I have acquired knowledge in infection prevention. It has increased my credibility and demonstrates that I am committed to my profession. I am proud to be associated with such an amazing organization.