Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing and why?
A. My earliest memory of wanting to be a nurse spans back to age five when I received my first Nurse Nancy doll. I think my mother was subliminally nurturing my decision to follow in her footsteps as a nurse. Even as a young child I helped care for my younger sisters when she worked evenings, and once I helped care for her nursing home patients on Christmas Eve when the majority of her staff called in sick with influenza. My mother was right – I love helping people.
Q. What led you to choose infection control nursing as a specialty?
A. Early in my nursing career, I was recruited to be the Assistant Director of Nurses at a small nursing home, where I wore multiple hats. Infection control had just become a requirement in the early 1970s, and there was very minimal information published on nursing home practices. I enjoyed the opportunity to apply hospital practices to nursing home care and soon became known as an experienced nursing home infection control nurse in our state.
Q. How did you become involved with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)?
A. I learned about APIC from a hospital infection control practitioner and was encouraged to volunteer for a committee shortly after becoming a member. There was a great need for long-term care representatives, and I was asked to continue serving on other committees. I enjoyed learning ways to apply hospital infection control to the nursing home setting and later was recruited to work at a hospital.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your profession?
A. I would say I am passionate about making a difference in patient care. It is very rewarding to be recognized as an expert in a specialty area that has drawn public attention to the importance of infection prevention as a safety priority for all healthcare organizations.
Q. What advice would you offer to those interested in infection control nursing?
A. Becoming a board certified infection preventionist provides so many opportunities to improve the quality and safety of all aspects of care delivery in any type of healthcare setting. The variety is appealing, and the multidisciplinary collaboration is challenging. Every day there is a new issue to address and a new disease problem to learn how to control.