Pamela Douglas, MSN, RN, CIC

Location: College Station, TX

Title: Infection Prevention Coordinator

Company/Organization: Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital

First Certified: January 2013

I first heard about COVID-19 in January 2020, I wondered if this would be similar to Ebola in the United States where we might see a few cases, and thought perhaps it would not affect us as drastically as it has. By February the Infectious Disease physician I worked with told me how he thought this would be the biggest pandemic we would ever see, I began to worry. As I tried to implement best practices at our hospitals, we had just joined a large healthcare system so many local decisions needed to be run by higher entities. I remember one of the biggest challenges was ensuring all the correct people were involved in the planning to prevent this virus from spreading. Another challenge was before the pandemic began I had applied and accepted a position with my current employer to work in Veterinary Medicine. My heart broke leaving behind my colleagues and patients during this time as I went to a new employer. On April 1, 2020 I started my new career in the animal world, many people think we were not affected by this pandemic, that would not be the case. While many of the local veterinarians closed their offices, our hospital remained open. We are also a teaching facility so we had students in the hospital as well. During the pandemic we have to screen the clients (pet owners), as well as the animals (who can develop COVID), the students and staff members.

Working in this new career during a pandemic made my certification all the more important. I still provided a resource to my previous company until the new Infection Preventionist got into the swing of things and I was also in a new position. Without the background of certification, I don’t believe I would have been ready to be a leader in the prevention of this virus in our facility. My certification taught me how to research, how to evaluate evidence, and how to implement actions in a timely manner.

In addition to working in a new field I have assisted with COVID testing. This has provided me an opportunity to work with people who may have worries about being COVID positive and provide them with reassurance.

It has been a very busy time to be in Infection Prevention. From researching the best ways to keep patients, visitors and staff safe to continuing to preventing all other infections that happen during “normal” times.

I would like to honor Dr. Jonathan Levine, while he is not an Infectious Disease doctor, he worked very hard to ensure best practices are followed. He keeps everyone informed, asks for opinions and works to create processes that keep everyone as safe as possible.