5 Steps APIC Makes to Educate Infection Preventionists

Conference | <b>Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)</b>

The strength of The Association for Professionals and Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is the volunteer members and the critical work they perform to assist both novice and veteran IPs.

In this second part of this video series, Marc-Oliver Wright, MT (ASCP), MS, CIC, FAPIC, Clinical Liaison for PDI Healthcare, and a longtime (APIC) member, shares his observations with Infection Control Today® (ICT®) on the steps APIC has made to educate infection preventionists, giving them opportunities to learn from each other both locally and globally, and, finally, what he thinks APIC should expand to assist IPs in their roles. His history with APIC goes back 20 years, and he has even gone to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to discuss the importance of infection preventionists (IPs) and their work and APIC’s work to assist (IPs). Finally, he discusses the recent Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2022 Annual Conference, held June 13-15, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The first part of this 2-part series can be found here.

Wright elaborates on the 5 Steps that APIC has made to educate infection preventionists:

Local APIC Chapters: “We have these local chapters that are scattered across the country, around the world where it's these collaborators. The nice thing about that is because oftentimes, some infection prevention topics can be very regionally related. For example, if you're in Chicago, Illinois, you are probably more worried about Candida as in Candida auris than if you are an IP working in, say, Helena, Montana,…the IPs in Helena, Montana, don't need to worry about Candida.”

Services are offered more broadly: For example, the most recent APIC Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. “You could have attended [in person], and you could have attended the conference virtually, for, I believe, the only the second time in the association's history, recognizing that not all IPs can get away, even though they probably want to, and they want to see their colleagues and see their friends. But they can still get that education that they need, not only for professional development, or for ongoing board certification through a virtual medium or platform.”

Engaging in projects and partnerships with other agencies: “For example, APIC and Center for Disease Control (CDC) partner together to develop these quick unit observation tools. APIC reached out to me a couple of years ago, and they were having discussions about this opportunity to say, ‘Hey, would you like to be engaged in developing these tools that IPs throughout our association can use and leverage in their own setting?’”

Offering ongoing education: “Infection Prevention competency development is a marathon not a sprint; it's a marathon that doesn't end at the 26.2. It just keeps going because health care changes, the organisms change, the circumstances change. If you can imagine approaching the infection control practitioner in 2019, I don't think that many of them were necessarily worried about, for example, their personal protective equipment supplies and maintaining a sufficient par level. Now, I guarantee you in 2022, that there's not an IP working today who doesn't have that in the forefront of their mind because we've just gone through [the COVID-19 pandemic]. The association provides this umbrella of learning and engagement of IPs across various settings, both locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Publishing several journals: “The academic one is the American Journal of Infection Control. If you want to know what's the latest and greatest and newest in terms of research, innovation, technology practices, as it relates to infection prevention and control, that's what you read. They also have that relationship with a certification board. They also help develop the competencies that determine who is a practicing IP, where are they on their career path, or their career development. Are they competent to pass sufficiently their board certification, and then to maintain that certification over time, because again, education and infection prevention is unending marathon, more like a death march, not a sprint.”