Jena Cornell, RN, BSN, CIC

Location: Westby, WI

Company/Organization: Tomah Health

Title: Infection Preventionist | Quality Specialist

First Certified: January 2024


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

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and this is when I truly learned about public health topics and work. I was able to leave bedside nursing and work as a public health nurse during much of the COVID-19 pandemic and truly enjoyed the work I was doing so much that I decided to obtain a master’s degree in public health (MPH) from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I then advanced my career into Infection Prevention as I love working with staff, patients, and communities to educate on prevention strategies, identify needs, and work to ensure the safety of patients and staff alike. As I approach graduation for my MPH, I look forward to the endless opportunities within the infection prevention and public health fields that will open, and I look forward to the work I will do. 

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

My only advice would be is to go for it, I was not sure stepping out of the public health sector and back into a hospital setting was truly going to be the best match for me, but I have truly loved my role as an infection preventionist and have grown so much from my work and wish you nothing but success. 

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

Obtaining my CIC was something I needed to do for myself to be able to justify that I have the knowledge level and expertise to do my job correctly. I felt the need to become certified to verify to myself that I am on the right path in my career. 

4. How has being a CIC® helped you navigate the current COVID‐19 climate?

I have just recently become certified in January 2024; my CIC was a crucial step in my own personal career goals. Having my CIC has the potential to open even more doors than I had imagined and as I hope to grow throughout my career and advance, the CIC will help drive me into the future. 

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

My work in my master’s program had taught me a lot about the material and content on the CIC exam, the APIC study materials that I purchased helped put the finishing touches and prepare me for the exam in a more detailed manner assisting to tie all the details together.  

6. What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?

Study, the exam is lengthy, but you can do it. 

7. How do you stay up‐to‐date on infection prevention and control practices?

I stay up to date on practices in a variety of ways. I continuously read CDC and WI DHS content and announcements, along with journal articles, news releases and the use of community surveillance. 

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

The CIC has opened so many doors to advancing my career. I graduate in 2 months (August 2024) with my MPH and hope to work on a federal level in pandemic and epidemic response. I will continue to work hard to achieve my goals and the CIC will help push me in the right direction.