See You In Cyberspace at the ICT Conference!

In the December issue of ICT, I wrote an article looking at the issues impacting infection prevention and control programs, and there was no lack of indication in the medical literature and anecdotally that these programs are insufficiently resourced, funded and staffed. Numerous studies I looked at for my article made it clear that infection preventionists and their programs will not be able to respond to the ever-growing list of public health and healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) prevention priorities unless healthcare administrators make them a fiscal priority at their institutions. So the bottom line is, you have more to do and fewer resources with which to perform your job these days. Even as you are reading this, I bet you are multi-tasking in some way! It’s something we all must do to keep up with our workloads, but it can be exhausting and counterproductive in the long run, can’t it?

Several years ago, I made the observation that no one was truly addressing the professional development needs of the infection control practitioner. I am reminded of this fact every time I board an airplane and the flight attendant reminds passengers that in an emergency situation requiring supplemental oxygen, they are to secure their own oxygen masks first, before attending to a child or other individual. As an infection preventionist, you place the needs of others – in this case the infection prevention education of healthcare providers – before your own needs every day. Yet how effective can you possibly be in your critical role if you don’t care for your own educational needs?

That’s why two years ago we launched the ICT Conference on Professional Development, which delivers expert instruction designed to help you boost your infection prevention performance and gives you the skill sets you need to function at increasingly higher levels to meet those escalating job demands. We held conferences in Las Vegas in 2007 and San Diego in 2008, and unless you were there, it’s almost impossible for me to describe in mere words the kind of heartwarming camaraderie we enjoyed as we learned and laughed and came together to help participants advance the infection control agenda at their facilities and fight HAIs.

It’s a mean, expensive economy right now, which exacerbates the fact that so many of you already have to pay out of your pockets for educational opportunities such as conferences. So that’s why this year, we decided to bring the conference to you! That’s right, the 2009 event is online and 100 percent virtual, meaning that you can access two days of education and exhibits from the comfort and convenience of your office or home computer. The event will be held Feb. 10-11, and features a fabulous line-up of speakers. Our Web site provides a quick tutorial to bring you up to speed on how the virtual conference will operate, so I encourage you to log onto today to register, if you haven’t done so already. We’ll see you soon in cyberspace!

Until next month, bust those bugs!

Kelly M. Pyrek, editor in chief