1. What made you want to pursue a career in infection prevention and control?
I have always been interested in the field of infection prevention and when the opportunity presented, I felt it was the right time for a change. I was stagnant in Case Management and not challenged by what I was doing, even though I was making a difference in Veteran’s lives. My drive to learn and grow professionally by stepping outside of my comfort zone was overwhelmingly hard to ignore. I craved a challenge.
2. What does being a-IPCTM mean to you?
I started my IP journey in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was stressful and had very little oversight and precepting. I have never been in a sink or swim situation such as this and it became very clear that Infection Prevention is probably one of the most under recognized and misunderstood specialties in the medical field. Taking the a-IPC certification was important for validating newly learned concepts and theories. So much information is read, researched, and questioned daily that it is easy to feel inadequate. I literally feel my initial response to most questions is, “I don’t know but will figure it out.” It feels good to know that my hard work is paying off and that I am moving in the right direction of being coming competent and eventually an expert in the field of Infection Prevention.
3. What was the best studying method for you when preparing for the examination?
I downloaded an Infection Prevention CIC test question app on my phone and every night before going to bed I answered 10-20 questions. It was a fast and quick way to quiz and get additional information for questions answered incorrectly. I also attended APIC EPI 101 in November 2021. It was a massive amount of information that I continue to pull from and break down into smaller more manageable sections depending on what my facility is dealing with or have been tasked to figure out.
4. How has gaining the a-IPCTM credential impacted your career development?
I feel by initiating the a-IPC on my own it shows my commitment to my position and my desire to be in this specialty for the long haul. I am hoping certification and hard work will help establish trust and allow me to change the perception of Infection Prevention from being the hall monitor of handwashing to becoming an integral partnership within every discipline and department in healthcare by building a strong foundation using evidence-based practice, trust, and respect.
5. Do you intend on pursing your CIC® credential? If so, why is becoming certified important to you?
My personal goal is to become CIC certified in the next 2-3 years. It is important for me to continue validating my professional growth by certification. I am in a smaller rural facility which has many advantages but also many disadvantages when it comes to seeing certain IP situations which are all crucial learning opportunities. To help mitigate the lack of firsthand learning, I purchased several CIC study guides and actively participate in a CIC study group I found through an APIC chat discussion. I’m optimistic that with time and perseverance I will be ready to conquer the CIC certification before I know it.