Shantel R. Klym, CIC

Location: Dickinson, North Dakota

Company/Organization: Commonspirit Health

Title: Infection Preventionist

First Certified: April 2021

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

Infection Prevention chose me! I am a unique IP as my background is Biology and Chemistry. I worked in the facility I am in through college, and loved patient care. The Infection Preventionist was someone I always respected, and I loved listening to how impactful her position was. When it became available, I knew it was the direction I wanted to go with my career.

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

 There is never a boring day. I am forever learning, and I love that about my position. There is nothing monotonous about infection prevention. If I need a change of scenery, I can observe in the OR, see some excitement in the ER or work alongside my colleagues in the lab.  Every day I get to research and continue to drive patient care best practices. I am an integral part in keeping patients safe and my community healthy. I am helping develop young healthcare workers and impacting the patients they will care for throughout their career by stressing how important IPC is. This practice is unbelievably rewarding.

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

 My credential stresses the value of my role in the patient care continuum. This gives me more credibility when speaking as an expert in my field. 

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

The live study groups I found through APIC were some of the most valuable studying tools I came across. There were a whole network of IP’s in my same career spot, and having the community to cheer you on while you are preparing and sitting for the exam gave me accountability and courage to keep going. This also allowed me to engage with others who see more in their experiences to further my understanding of concepts. 

5. What advice would you give someone pursuing certification?

 Do not be scared, but definitely prepare! This is one of the most rewarding accolades I have achieved, so do not scare yourself out of it! 

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

I read through the APIC discussion boards often and make time to at least skim through AJIC. This gives me a pulse of things others are experiencing in their facilities, as it may come up in mine at another time. I also like to know where the research is at and heading. 

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

While at this point in time, I am happy to be where I am, serving the community I live in. I anticipate there will be opportunities for promotion or advancing in the IP realm. When I am ready, the CIC give me a leg up on a very competitive field of applicants.