Nathalye Mendez, MSN, RN, CIC

Location: New York

Company/Organization: Bronx Care Health System

Title: Senior Coordinator Infection Control

First Certified: July 2021

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

As a Registered Nurse with an extensive background in laboratory practices and clinical settings, I was always fascinated with the microbiology and infection diseases aspect of my career. When the opportunity presented, it was the perfect calling and an organic transition to the Infection Control world. I embraced the new challenges and the opportunity to advance my career and to make further impact to the needed population where I practice.

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

Have an open and curious mind. Infection prevention is an ever-changing world. I suggest doing an internship or shadowing someone in the field to have an idea of the different aspects of the position. Love what you do, be eager to learn and know that what you do will have an impact and will help to protect your patients, colleagues, and yourself.

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

Becoming a CIC is a validation of my knowledge, competency and mastering on my field. It is a reward to the hard work on my part, and the great support from my peers.  It is a commitment to continue to strive for excellence and to apply all my knowledge and skill to the best of my abilities for the betterment of society. 

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

I followed the study guide (questions and rationales). The APIC text book was the “to-go” source for information. I also joined the Florida and Oregon study groups.  I would take the exams from the study guide, and asses my competency. I would then refer to the APIC text to reinforce weak concepts and take the test again.

5. What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?

Be consistent with your study schedule. DO NOT procrastinate!! Study every day so it won’t be overwhelming. Register to take the test; otherwise it will be a never done task. Once you schedule the test it becomes real, you will be committed to give all you have to pass.

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

I remain up-to-date on my field through continue education courses, reading relevant literature from APIC, JAMA, SHEA, CDC, assisting to conferences and seminars and  I also belong to the NY and Long Island chapters, a great source of information.

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

No, I do not.

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

I feel confident and reassured that I have the knowledge and mastery to continue my IC duties. By having the certification, practitioners and colleagues take me more serious. It also gives me a sense of pride and at the same time, I am aware of the increased responsibility to continue to grow in my profession.

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.

Up until July 20, was the CIC test; However, it is always on my mind all the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit , one of the areas dearest to my heart. I consider premature babies the most precious cargo in my facility, and I take very seriously almost personal any breach on Infection control protocol in this area.