Meet Infection Control Today's Editorial Board Member: Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ


Meet the experts shaping infection prevention: Infection Control Today's Editorial Board members share insights, experiences, and cutting-edge strategies to enhance health care safety and quality. Meet Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ.

Meet Infection Control Today's Editorial Board member, Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ.  (Photo courtesy of Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ)

Meet Infection Control Today's Editorial Board member, Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ.

(Photo courtesy of Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ)

Introducing the Infection Control Today's (ICT's) Editorial Board members—a diverse group of professionals dedicated to advancing infection prevention and control practices. This series highlights each member's unique expertise and contributions to the field.

From groundbreaking research to innovative strategies, these experts are at the forefront of enhancing health care safety. Join us as we learn their insights, experiences, and visions for the future, providing valuable knowledge and inspiration to elevate infection control protocols.

In this installment, we hear from Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ, an infection preventionist in Saudi Arabia and health care policy consultant.

ICT: Please tell me about your health care and infection prevention journey. How did you become an infection preventionist?

Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ: My journey in health care began with a passion for helping others and a keen interest in science. After earning my degree in nursing, I started working in a clinical setting, where I quickly became aware of the critical importance of infection control. Observing how infections could severely impact patient outcomes, I was motivated to specialize in this area.

To gain deeper knowledge, I pursued further education and training in infection prevention and control. This included obtaining certification from recognized organizations such as the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). I also participated in various workshops and seminars to stay updated on the latest best practices and emerging threats in infection prevention. Additionally, I pursued a master’s degree in Nursing Administration, which provided me with a comprehensive understanding of health care systems, leadership skills, and strategic planning.

Further enhancing my expertise, I earned my Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) certification. This equipped me with advanced skills in quality management and process improvement, which are essential for effective infection prevention and control.

My first role as an infection preventionist involved working closely with a multidisciplinary team to develop and implement infection control policies. I conducted regular audits, provided staff education, and analyzed infection data to identify trends and areas for improvement. Over time, I took on more responsibilities, such as leading infection prevention committees and participating in research projects to enhance our understanding of infection control measures.

Throughout my career, I've been driven by the goal of ensuring a safe environment for both patients and health care workers. The combination of my master's degree and CPHQ certification has enabled me to integrate quality improvement methodologies into our infection prevention strategies effectively. The challenges presented by outbreaks and the ongoing need for vigilance have only strengthened my commitment to this field. Today, I continue to advocate for evidence-based practices and collaborate with colleagues to advance infection prevention strategies in our health care system.

ICT: What trends do you see in infection prevention?

HaZ: Infection prevention is a dynamic field that continually evolves in response to emerging threats and advancements in health care. Several key trends are shaping the landscape of infection prevention today:

  1. Increased use of technology: Technology is playing a significant role in infection prevention. Electronic health records (EHRs), predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are being leveraged to identify infection trends, predict outbreaks, and monitor compliance with infection control protocols in real-time.
  2. Enhanced hand hygiene adherence: Hand hygiene remains a cornerstone of infection prevention. There is a growing emphasis on improving adherence through innovative methods such as electronic monitoring systems, which provide real-time feedback to health care workers, and the integration of hand hygiene education into routine training programs.
  3. Antimicrobial stewardship: The rise of antimicrobial resistance has increased the focus on antimicrobial stewardship programs. These programs aim to optimize the use of antibiotics, reduce the spread of resistant bacteria, and preserve the effectiveness of current treatments.
  4. Environmental cleaning and disinfection: New disinfection technologies, such as UV-C light and electrostatic sprayers, are being adopted to enhance the efficacy of environmental cleaning. There is also an increased focus on high-touch surfaces and their role in transmitting pathogens.
  5. Outbreak preparedness and response: The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of robust outbreak preparedness and response strategies. Healthcare facilities are investing in better infrastructure, training, and protocols to respond to infectious disease outbreaks quickly.
  6. Vaccination programs: Vaccination remains a critical component of infection prevention. Efforts are being intensified to improve vaccine coverage, combat vaccine hesitancy, and develop new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases.
  7. Patient and staff education: Continuous education for patients and health care staff is crucial. There is a growing emphasis on providing comprehensive infection prevention education, including online modules, workshops, and simulation-based training.

ICT: What topics would you like to see in Infection Control Today for the rest of the year?

HaZ: ICT can cover a wide range of topics to address the evolving challenges and advancements in the field of infection prevention and control. Here are some suggested topics for the rest of the year:

  1. Emerging infectious diseases: Updates on recent outbreaks and emerging pathogens, their impact, and strategies for control and prevention.
  2. Antimicrobial resistance: Strategies to combat antibiotic resistance, including stewardship programs, new antimicrobial agents, and innovative therapies.
  3. Infection prevention in health care settings: Best practices for infection control in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient settings. Focus on topics like hand hygiene, sterilization techniques, and environmental cleaning.
  4. Health care-associated infections (HAIs): Strategies to reduce HAIs, including catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, and surgical site infections.
  5. Innovative technologies in infection control: Advances in UV disinfection, antimicrobial coatings, and telemedicine for infection prevention.
  6. Global health and infection control: Challenges and strategies for infection control in low-resource settings, global health initiatives, and the impact of climate change on infectious diseases.
  7. Education and training for health care workers: Effective methods for training health care workers in infection control practices and the importance of continuous education.
  8. Patient safety and infection control: Ensuring patient safety through rigorous infection control practices, addressing patient concerns, and improving communication.
  9. Regulatory updates and compliance: Keeping up with changes in regulations, guidelines, and standards from organizations like the CDC, World Health Organization, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  10. Infection control in nonhealth care settings: Practices for preventing infections in schools, workplaces, and public spaces.
  11. Behavioral science in infection control: Understanding the role of human behavior in infection control compliance and strategies to improve adherence to protocols.
  12. Vaccination strategies and updates: Information on current and upcoming vaccines, strategies, and addressing vaccine hesitancy.
  13. Research and development in infection control: Highlighting recent research findings, clinical trials, and innovations in the field.
  14. Personal protective equipment (PPE): Advances in PPE technology, proper usage, and addressing shortages or supply chain issues.

Hebah al Zamel


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