Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC)

The Certification Corner

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Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) CBIC: The Certification Corner
Volume 4; Issue 3
August 2011

Inside this Issue

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CBIC President's Message

Terrie B. Lee, RN, MS, MPH, CIC

CBIC was involved in two major North American conferences for infection preventionists this summer: The CHICA-Canada conference in Toronto, and the APIC Conference in Baltimore. We connected with hundreds of individuals who are interested in certification, and we look for many of these professionals to take their exam and earn their CIC®! There was a real excitement among the CIC® candidates we spoke to, and these were some of the most frequent questions, along with our answers:

Does certification make a difference?
Yes! Many wonderful abstracts were presented at the conferences. At APIC, some of the abstracts described the results of the ”Prevention of Nosocomial Infections and Cost-Effectiveness Refined” ( P-NICER ) and “Changing Role of the Infection Preventionist” studies, which are being conducted by Columbia University School of Nursing’s Patricia Stone, RN, PhD, MPH and others, in partnership with APIC. In one abstract entitled “Certification in Infection Control Matters”, Monika Pogorzelska, Stone and Larson described the use of infection control policies aimed at reducing MRSA in California hospitals and also assessed the relationship between infection control policies, structural characteristics and rates of MRSA bloodstream infections (BSIs). It’s important to note that one finding of this study indicated that the presence of a certified infection control director was a significant predictor of lower MRSA BSI rates. It certainly comes as no surprise that certified infection preventionists (IPs) are equipped to face the most challenging infection prevention issues head on to ensure the safety of patients, employees and visitors.

How do I know if I’m qualified to take the CBIC exam?
To sit for the certification exam, a candidate must be actively engaged in the practice of infection prevention and control. Just being interested in the field and even having had appropriate educational background, doesn’t qualify a person to become certified. While there is no minimum of time the IP must have the job prior to certification, the exam is based on the essential knowledge required to perform the job at a two-year experience level. A full description of infection prevention and control practice is included in our downloadable Candidate Handbook.

What should I study to take the certification exam?
In order to begin preparing for the exam, we recommend reviewing the Candidate Handbook. This handbook details all qualifications and requirements for the exam, and outlines the content that is covered by the exam. The candidate is responsible for knowing the contents of the handbook, so it’s a good idea to refer to it often. After reviewing the content outline, one can determine if there are areas where study should be concentrated, in order to become thoroughly familiar with all pertinent topics. The handbook also includes the official list of references used for development of all exam questions.

How will I know what questions will be on the exam?
When studying for the exam, I always encourage candidates to focus on learning the content required to be competent in the job, as opposed to focusing on what questions might or might not be on the test. Don’t forget to include current guidelines and standards in your study efforts. Concentration on the content material will better prepare an IP for competence in practice, regardless of work setting. The more familiar one is with the essential knowledge, the better prepared for the CIC® exam one will be!

CBIC Strategic Planning
The CBIC Board recently engaged a consultant to assist in the review and revision of its strategic plan. The assessment activities were aimed to answer the questions: where are we today?; where do we want to be in the future?; and what will it take (resources, etc.) to make it happen? Many APIC members participated in the information gathering phases of this endeavor, and the CBIC Board thanks each of you who provided input.

The Board then participated in a strategic planning retreat with its stakeholders from APIC, CHICA-Canada and its testing company to analyze the information obtained and to determine the necessary actions to take. As a result of this process, CBIC identified the following goal areas:

  1. Certification, maintenance of certification, testing, and research
  2. Partner and regulatory relationships
  3. Marketing, communications, and publications
  4. Recruitment, retention, and community
  5. Governance and management

The CBIC Board will be hard at work to create strategic initiatives associated with these goals and action plans. We’ll keep all IPs informed about the continuing progress and the future direction of CBIC activities.

If you didn’t get an opportunity to speak with us at a conference this year, we’re still available by phone (414-918-9796), by email (info@cbic.org), or you can reach me personally by email: tlee@cbic.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Terrie Lee

Terrie B. Lee, RN, MS, MPH, CIC
2011 CBIC President

New Website

CBIC is proud to announce the launching of our new website at www.cbic.org. Because we are committed to the professional growth of our certificants as well as educating the public, employers, and certification candidates; we believe that a website that's easier to navigate will help us fulfill that goal. Please visit and marvel in the changes!

Did you know that you can now update your profile in real-time right on the website? Visit the My Profile link on the My Certification page and click "Login Help" to create your unique username and password. Once you’re signed up, you’ll be able to log in at anytime to update your contact information. No more forms to send back!

Stay tuned for other upgrades coming later in the year such as e-commerce for purchasing the SARE, practice exam, and CIC merchandise.

If you ever experience problems logging in or other general issues with the website, please contact a member of the CBIC staff at info@cbic.org.

Display Your CIC® With Pride

CBIC is proud to announce our new products which all contain the CIC logo. Wear your credential with pride! Choose from the slick metal business card case to keep your business cards safe and easy to find; the CIC® portfolio which offers an expendable inside pocket, calculator and pad of paper; or the 16 oz stainless steel travel mug featuring a slide-open lid to keep your coffee warm and your clothes dry. Don’t forget to show off your certification with the gold lapel CIC® pin, available as well on our website's Product page.

Meet our Physician Director, Dr. Kathy Suh

Dr. Kathy Suh
Dr. Suh is currently in her 3rd year as CBIC’s physician director and is also co-chair of the Test Committee

Kathryn Suh, MD, FRCP, CIC is a physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine and an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is also the Associate Director of Infection Prevention and Control at The Ottawa Hospital.

Dr. Suh obtained her medical degree from the University of Ottawa. She trained in Family Medicine at McGill University, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Ottawa, and Hospital Epidemiology at the University of Rochester, Rochester NY.

Her research and academic interests include clinical aspects of infectious diseases, as well as the control of antimicrobial resistant organisms, antimicrobial utilization, and hand hygiene (particularly related to education and improving healthcare worker compliance with hand hygiene).

Dr. Suh participates in medical trainee education and is the course coordinator of an introductory graduate level course in healthcare epidemiology offered by the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She is a member of the Provincial (Ontario) Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Infection Prevention and Control, the Ontario Hospital Association Communicable Diseases Protocols Subcommittee, and the Canadian Healthcare Epidemiology Committee / Canadian Nosocomial Infections Surveillance Program of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We asked Dr. Suh the following questions:

How did you become involved in infection prevention and control?
During my infectious diseases (ID) training, I was asked if I would be interested in conducting a clinical and epidemiologic analysis of MRSA cases which included the opportunity to perform molecular (PFGE) analysis. I enjoyed putting it all together, and decided that I would pursue more training in infection prevention and control. After two years of ID training, I completed a 2 year fellowship in hospital epidemiology and infection control in the U.S.

What motivated you to become certified?
It just seemed like a logical thing to do - I never thought about the fact that MD CICs were rarities. Because I had invested the time in training, I thought it would show that I had the same competency and certification as the IPs. I don’t think that one month of infection control during ID training is enough to prepare a hospital epidemiologist for what they need to know. Becoming certified added credibility and demonstrated to the IPs that I knew infection control.

What has being certified meant to you professionally?
It demonstrates my competence in the specialty, and respect for IPs and the certification process. Currently, MDs don’t necessarily have to prove they are qualified in infection prevention and control in order to get the job. The CIC® credential is one way of doing this – at present it is the only recognized credential in infection control, even for a physician. It has also allowed me to be part of the Board and to help shape the future of CBIC; I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to do this!

What do you think the physician presence brings to the Board?
I would like to elevate the profile of IPs and better promote the idea of certification among MDs and hospital administrations / administrators. The physician provides leadership and a unique perspective on many issues while increasing the representativeness of the Board as a whole.

Why do you think more physicians aren’t certified?
Most infection control physicians are aware of the CIC® credential and the need for their IPs to become certified. I think many of them believe this is an IP certification and not something they need or should have. For some, it may be a logistical issue - the feeling that there is not enough time to take the exam, or the lack of convenient exam sites (Canada). However, infection control is a rapidly changing field with many demands and more spread into other related healthcare areas. Becoming certified and having to recertify ensures that your knowledge remains current. Physicians should be encouraged to become certified. It is the only recognized credential that says you've met some standard to be working in infection prevention and control.

A search of the CBIC database found few physicians who are board certified. Is your physician certified?

We feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Suh on the CBIC board!!

Re-Certification Reminder

To maintain certification, the Infection Preventionist must recertify within five calendar years of passing the examination. All currently certified infection preventionists are eligible for recertification. If you have not already taken the following steps, please review the following options for recertification:

  1. Take and pass the proctored computer-based (CBT) examination
    The proctored computer-based (CBT) examination can be taken at over 150 Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) Assessment Centers Monday through Friday at either 9:00 am or 1:30 pm. You can apply online via the link on the CBIC website (www.cbic.org) or by going directly to the testing agency website at www.goamp.com. You can also download a candidate handbook at www.cbic.org for all the information on administrative policies and an application form. International certificants can also recertify via the computerized examination. For a list of domestic and international assessment center locations, please visit the AMP website at www.goAMP.com. If you wish to recertify via CBT, you must have your examination appointment scheduled for on or before December 30, 2011 (assessment centers are closed on December 31st).
  2. Take and pass the Self-Achievement Recertification Examination (SARE)
    The SARE is offered online in web-based format. You can schedule testing on your own home computer and on your own schedule. The test can be ordered at any time between now and December 1, 2011. A passing score must be achieved, and your SARE must be completed by December 31, 2011. You must have an email address to receive the confirmation e-mail with specific instructions on how to logon to the SARE. The e-mail will include a unique ID and password that must be used during the login process. Certificants are able to login and out as many times as necessary, within the established testing window, to complete the examination; responses/answers during the previous logins will be saved. Candidate results are provided following completion of the test and will also be sent to the candidate's e-mail address.

Please be aware that if you do not recertify within the deadlines outlined above, your certification will lapse on December 31, 2011. If you allow your certification to lapse, you cannot use the CIC® credential after December 31, 2011. Should your certification lapse and you decide to pursue the credential again, you must apply through the same application process, criteria, and fee as a first-time applicant at the time of application.

If you need further information regarding the CBIC Examination process, please visit the CBIC® website at www.cbic.org and download the current CBIC Candidate Handbook.

2011 APIC Annual Conference

CBIC participated in the 2011 APIC Annual Conference through exhibiting and sponsoring a session on certification. The exhibit booth was popular as it has been in past years. It’s an opportunity for CICs to visit with their friends and colleagues and stop by to chat with Board members and staff. It also allows potential candidates to be able to talk to CBIC staff and Board members face-to-face about the CIC examination and get their questions answered.

CBIC also sponsored a session entitled “Celebrating Excellence in Infection Prevention – Achieving Certification” during the Conference. It was standing room only as hundreds came to learn about the certification process and tips for achieving success. After the session ended, CBIC leadership spent time in the APIContacts Lounge answering additional questions.

The APIC Conference is always a wonderful opportunity for the CBIC leadership to connect with certificants and others interested in certification and we’re grateful to everyone who stopped by. We hope to see you in 2012 in San Antonio!

2011 APIC Annual Conference
The CBIC booth was popular with current CICs who wanted to stop by and meet the Board members and for candidates interested in becoming certified.

2011 APIC Annual Conference
CBIC President, Terrie Lee, RN, CIC, and President-Elect, Barbara Russell, RN, CIC, talked to hundreds of candidates and current CICs over the three day conference.

2011 CHICA-Canada Conference

This year CBIC once again exhibited at the CHICA-Canada 2011 National Education Conference, May 28-June 2 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The conference exceeded attendance numbers from 2010 by several hundred attendees. CBIC President Terrie Lee, along with Board members Glenda Schuh, Kathy Suh, and Kathy McGhie, were on hand to provide information to individuals interested in CIC certification. CBIC also had posters with the names of the Canadian CICs who either certified for the first time or re-certified in the last 12 months. An email was sent to these certificants encouraging them to stop by the booth to get there picture taken next to their names. Congratulations to our Canadian CICs and thank you to CHICA-Canada for being such a gracious host, as always. We’ll see you next year in Saskatoon!

CHICA-Canada 2011 National Education Conference
Board members Glenda Schuh, RN, CIC, Kathy Suh, MD, CIC, and Kathy McGhie, RN, CIC joined CBIC President Terrie Lee, RN, CIC at the CBIC booth at the CHICA-Canada Conference and chatted with current certificants and candidates interested in becoming certified.

CHICA-Canada Presents CIC Chapter Achievement Award

CHICA-Canada continues to make a concerted effort to promote the Certification in Infection Control (CIC®) designation in Canada. The value of this designation has been proven to employers, colleagues and the public. It is a valid demonstration of the standardized knowledge of Infection Prevention and Control through a common testing application. In Canada, CHICA-Canada’s 22 chapters encourage and promote the achievement of the designation through study groups, reimbursement of examination fees, lapel pins, and enthusiastic congratulations to those who have achieved or renewed their CIC.

In 2009, CHICA established the CIC Chapter Achievement Award. Patterned after the former CBIC Canadian Chapter Achievement Award, the award acknowledges the CHICA-Canada chapter that achieves the highest percentage of newly certified CICs. The prize is $750 towards an educational event.

The winner of the 2010 CIC Chapter Achievement Award, showing a significant increase in newly certified chapter members, is CHICA-HANDIC (Hamilton and Neighbouring Districts in Infection Prevention and Control). The announcement and presentation was made at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2011 CHICA-Canada conference (Toronto, May 28-June 2 2011).

CHICA-Canada Presents CIC Chapter Achievement Award
The photo above shows CHICA-HANDIC President Risa Cashmore being congratulated by Marilyn Weinmaster, CHICA-Canada Secretary/Membership Director.

Risa reports CHICA-HANDIC chapter activities that support certification include the following:

  • Including certification as a standing agenda item, where newly certified members and those who have re-certified since the last meeting are celebrated and their accomplishments recorded in the meeting minutes.
  • Requesting the CHICA-HANDIC secretary be notified of successful certificants
  • Circulating a list to attendees at our meeting(s) to capture their certification dates
  • Keeping members informed of upcoming study groups through the Regional Infection Control Networks of Ontario (RICN) for Public Health Ontario
  • Including a regular "question and answer" session at each meeting
  • Supporting each other!

Help us to inspire others, let us know what your chapter is doing to promote certification.

San Antonio Chapter Story

By Kristine Chafin, RN, MBA, CIC

Welcome to APIC Chapter 71 – San Antonio, Texas. We are 82 members strong having various educational and experience backgrounds. At our May meeting, we had 19 members receive their CIC pins (twenty two percent); over half of our board is certified. Sixty-three percent of those certified have their masters’ degrees and all have their bachelors’ degrees. Education is truly the focus of our chapter. We have a VERY short business meeting followed by a one hour CEU presentation.

This year's presentations include:
HAI Reporting to NHSN
The Joint Commission
CCNQ (Critical Care Nursing Quarterly) Journal Summary by Baptist Health System Infection Prevention Staff (they wrote the 1st issue of 2011).

We offer yearly scholarships for the certification exam; we also have an expanded infection prevention library that includes the study guides and handbooks available to any person who requests them. We have also started a mentoring program for those new to infection prevention. We attempt to “buddy” a novice IP with an experienced IP!

How My CIC® Helped During the Tornado of Joplin, MO

By Ann Davy, RN, CIC and Lisa Linn, BS, RN, CIC*
May 22, 2011. 5:45 PM

The day and time that changed the city of Joplin, Missouri forever. An EF-5 tornado ripped through our town of approximately 50,000 residents, destroying nearly one-third of the city. For most, it will become a date similar to that of when Kennedy was shot or September 11, 2001. Where were you when….?

This is to be an article of how our certification in Infection Control and Prevention helped during a disaster. However, it is difficult to set aside the emotions that accompany this story. As of this date, 159 lives in Joplin were lost; two of whom were employees of our health system. Three hundred employee families were affected by loss of homes or severe damage. St. John’s Mercy hospital, literally across the street from us at Freeman Health System, was destroyed. As of this date, some of the city debris has been cleared, the demolition of the buildings has begun as well as the lengthy rebuilding process.

Read full story here

Thank you for reading CBIC's August, 2011 E-Newsletter.
To send suggestions for future articles or feedback on this issue,
please write to info@cbic.org.

Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC)