In this issue, well be talking a lot about what it means to work in infection prevention and control, which is appropriate since this month we will produce our first-ever ICT Conference on Professional Development, to be held Jan. 24-26 in Las Vegas. This event goes to the heart of what it means to be an infection control practitioner (ICP), and is designed to add even more tools to an ICPs personal and professional toolbox. Viable skill sets are critical to this field, for the landscape and the foe is ever-changing. In my mind, there are numerous personal and professional characteristics I suspect are essential to carrying out your work, including inner fortitude, perseverance against all odds, passion for the field, and possession of creative and critical thinking skills, among others. At our conference we intend to nurture all of these traits and build upon your existing strengths to empower you to face the myriad budgetary and bureaucratic challenges ahead.
I asked a number of ICPs (many of them youll meet at our conference) for their thoughts on where weve been and where were going in infection prevention and control, and they provided exceedingly thoughtful and articulate expressions of their hopes, dreams, and desires for this exceptional field.
Dont miss this frank discussion of the issues facing infection control, which begins on page 22. They share their thoughts on the most pressing issues facing infection control programs, how they see the field changing in the next five to 10 years, and what ICPs need most in order to do their jobs most effectively.
One thing is clear to me the job is certainly what you make of it. You are frequently your own department, with a number of other hospital departments and your colleagues counting on your expertise to help safeguard them and their patients against infectious threats. Thats why Im pleased to expand my role as conference chair to include that of presenter; I hope youll be sure to attend the session I am giving on crisis communications and media relations for ICPs. You are the frontline communicators to your community, whether its an outbreak, a pandemic, or a mass disaster, and it is imperative that you embrace this role and use it to restore and maintain calm in a discomforting situation. We may never know what its like to respond to a true emergency, but preparation is the watchword for these troubled times. Even if its an invasion of MRSA of C. diff in your facility, that is enough to warrant quick thinking, sure-footed action, and a set of interdisciplinary solutions that will stop the marauder in its tracks.
So in this very first month of the New Year, lets get off on the right foot and celebrate another year of opportunities to educate others about the principles and best practices of infection prevention!
Until next month, bust those bugs!
Kelly M. Pyrek
Group Editor, Medical Division