The Path to Success in Infection Prevention: Strategies for Climbing the Career Ladder


Gain invaluable insights on merging personal and professional growth with the APIC Competency Model, presented by the upcoming president of the Greater Los Angeles APIC Chapter, focusing on her PROACTIVE approach for infection preventionists.

What is the infection prevention professional ladder? How do those health care workers who want to climb the ladder do so? One infection preventionist (IP) answered that question and spoke toInfection Control Today® (ICT®) about her experience and the presentation she gave about the topic at her local Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) chapter.

Deksha Taneja, MHA, BDS, CIC, HACP, LTC-CIP, the system director of infection prevention at Adventist Health, Southern California. She is also the secretary for the Greater Los Angeles APIC (GLA) for the 2023-2024 term and the president-elect for 2024-2025.

In her interview with ICT, Taneja spoke about her presentation at GLA annual conference. She said she “combined [her] personal and professional journey with the APIC Competency Model because it really gives infection preventionists (IPs) a roadmap for their career growth.

She explains her PROACTIVE approach to being an IP and fulfilling their individual goals. These are partnership, resourcefulness, optimization, alignment, curiosity, teamwork, initiative, validation, and effective communication.

Then Taneja explains what she does when an IP comes to her and says that he/she is stressed out. “So, if an IP is coming and telling me that, you know, this is a very stressful job, I don't, I don't know how long can I do this? First, the first step is 'Okay, let's take a deep breath. Let's try to find out what's causing the stress.' So really helping them communicate with their feelings aligned their feelings. So what's leading to the stress? Is that a project you're not able to complete? Or is it the daily stress that, okay, this is a lot of responsibility, or you don't have enough resources, because I've seen this all or for myself, too, or do not have the support that you need to do your job.”

She says to always speak calmly to those around you and emphasizes that stress will ultimately lead to burnout, affecting not only the individual but also their loved ones. The impact extends beyond work hours, reaching into personal life.

Taneja says to ask if the job brings genuine fulfillment. If barriers exist, they can be addressed collaboratively. However, if the answer is no, it prompts a deeper exploration of personal goals and alignment. Then she continues with ideas for health care workers to prevent burnout in the first place.

(Quotes have been edited for clarity.)

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